More and more Mary is being offered as a model of how we as Christians should strive to be. The Catholic Church has always held Mary in high esteem and views her as a holy figure, because she is, after all, the mother of Jesus; our redeemer. How do we view Mary and her importance in the history of the Christian faith?
Mary delivered Jesus to us. She accepted this important mission knowing that there would be many who would not understand and probably who would judge her. She accepted and agreed to have a child through the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:38). Her Son would be taken from her not only in death, but also in doing our Father’s work. Mary accepted this mission in pronouncing her ‘Yes’ because she had faith in God and knew the importance of what was being asked of her. Mary did not think that she was worthy of such an important task, but accepted what was to come (Luke 1:46-50). The faith she had in God, and the faith she had in her Son were what we can value in her as the mother of Jesus. We understand the human concerns and worries she had, but very much appreciate her divinity, love of God, and love of her Son.
Mary and Elizabeth were the first to understand the importance in what was to come which they manifested by their excitement (Luke 1:39-45). These women of faith must have been great sources of support for one another. John the Baptist, Jesus, and their mothers being connected in such a profound way allocate the beginning of our Christian faith. The vision of what was to be was first given to these women of faith. Mary and Elizabeth are pinnacles of what we as Christians are called to live; place our faith in God, do what he asks of us, and believe that He will be with us no matter what life brings. Our early Christian mothers are true models of faith, and help us to understand how important we are to each other in carrying out our life’s vocation. Through her spiritual collaboration with Christ’s redeeming work, Mary saved us from ruin and eternal damnation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states “Throughout the Old Covenant the mission of many holy women prepared for that of Mary. At the very beginning there was Eve; despite her disobedience, she receives the promise of a posterity that will be victorious over the evil one, as well as the promise that she will be the mother of all the living -128. By virtue of this promise, Sarah conceives a son in spite of her old age -129. Against all human expectation God chooses those who were considered powerless and weak to show forth his faithfulness to his promises: Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Deborah; Ruth; Judith and Esther; and many other women -130. Mary stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hopes for and receives salvation from him. After a long period of waiting the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted Daughter of Sion, and the new plan of salvation is established ” -131 (CCC, Article 3,489). In the Catholic Church Mary is “Mother of the Church”, and so, she should be a symbol to us of what we as human beings can strive to be. She should be looked upon like the Saints as inspirations. Our prayers are to God; we pray with Mary and the Saints to help us to be closer to God. Mary is definitely with us, and looks to us to do God’s work. The Virgin Mary cooperated through free faith and obedience in human salvation. She uttered her ‘Yes’ in the name of all human nature. By her obedience she became the new Eve, mother of the living. (CCC, Article 3, 511). Her life is an everlasting lesson of faith, even as little as we know of it. She is a beacon of light for us to follow in our daily lives. She lived her life in God’s love, and we should live our lives for love of God through the Holy Spirit.
Too often in modern culture we pick our role models amongst celebrities of big business tycoons. We overlook perhaps the most perfect woman that has ever lived, Our Lady. She began her life as an ordinary girl that had been taught a very basic education in life yet what she has done for the world is truly amazing and was given the greatest honor any other woman could get; she became the Mother of God. Becoming a parent is a daunting task, as any pregnant woman will testify. However Mary, on being asked if she would bear the future Son of Man answered ‘Yes’. The choice was put before her, she decided to risk being shunned by society as a pregnant, unmarried woman, to become Our Lord’s mother. Understanding the type of society she lived in, one begins to comprehend the immense strength of her faith in God. How would she explain such a pregnancy to her husband – to – be, Joseph? She never even questioned, she just accepted her part in God’s plan, knowing that He would look after her. On discovering that she was to bear a child she did not hide at home and fear for the future, as many in her situation may have done, after all, women that committed adultery were to be put to death by stoning. Instead she went on a journey from Nazareth, her home village, to visit Elizabeth, a relative in Judea. This reflects her strong faith in God. She went alone, with no man to look after her, relying only on the strength from the Lord. Throughout her life Mary would continue to call upon this strength her faith gave her, as she became more and more acquainted with grief. We are all familiar with the difficult circumstances of the child’s birth Mary endured. After being turned away from an inn, knowing her baby was to arrive at anytime, she had no comfortable and private place to bring her son into the world. This must have been terrifying! But the example of her faith tells us that God will not abandon us in our hour of need.
After Jesus’ birth she was not able to return back home to her family either. She could not start to enjoy motherhood as many other mothers begin to, but had to leave for Egypt, a strange country, unable to return to her home for fear of the terror that Herod was about to inflict with the Massacre Of The Innocents. On her son’s circumcision she was told that “sorrow, like a sharp sword” would pierce her heart. This may have worried her a great deal, but she did not attempt to prevent Jesus from beginning his ministry. She raised him, educated him and supported him when it came his time to beginning his teachings. How her heart must have ached to see her son dying on a cross, knowing of his innocence yet being unable to help him. Yet she never cursed or voiced any regrets. She was faithful to the last. She was a strong woman, a timeless role model of both faith and character.
Bro Valentine ONYEKA SAC