Mary, the Lord’s servant

Mary’s “Yes” to the angel Gabriel is central to the last week of Advent. In Mary the God who made all that is becomes flesh, like us.

Again I turn to the prison meditations of Father Alfred Delp, S.J.:

 Our blessed Lady. She is the most comforting of all the Advent figures. The fact that the angel’s annunciation found a motherly heart ready to received the Word, and that it grew beyond its earthly environment to the very heights of heaven, is the holiest of all Advent consolations….

The golden threads of reality are already shining through; if we look we can see them everywhere.

Mary was aware enough, full of the grace of the Lord, to recognize the call of the Lord, the signs of what is truly real, in the words of Gabriel.

And she said “yes.”

May we have hearts open to recognize the call of the Lord to reveal the Lord’s presence in our world – despite the pain, the misery, the suffering, and the darkness.

Light comes to us and is made flesh by the “yes” of a young virgin.

In the words of the twelfth century Cistercian monk, Blessed Isaac of Stella – quoted in the commentary of Fr. John F. Kavanaugh, SJ, The Word Encountered:

 In a way every Christian is also believed to be a bride of God’s Word, a mother of Christ, His daughter and sister, at once virginal and fruitful. These words are used in a universal sense of the church, in a special sense of Mary, in a particular sense of the individual Christian…. Christ dwelt for nine months in the tabernacle of Mary’s womb. He dwells until the end of the ages in the tabernacle of the church’s faith.


2 responses to “Mary, the Lord’s servant

  1. As I see it, Mary is, first of all, a disciple. She always sought to do God’s will.
    We pray to her, not as a goddess or mediatrix, but as one member of the Communion of Saints, the Body of Christ, the Church – as we would ask others who are alive to pray for us, to be with us in the presence of God.
    As you realize the first half of the Hail Mary is biblical. The second half is asking her to join us in prayer to our God, her Son.

  2. Like many Protestants, I struggle with the role of Mary.

    There’s a concern among our wing of the church that Catholics turn her into an idol, that she and the pantheon of saints become a host of gods who people worship separate from God. I don’t share that concern. However, to pray to the saints or to Mary does seem to imply that we feel
    separated from God, that for whatever reason, God isn’t responsive to our prayers so we must direct them to someone lower on the chain of heavenly command. In a way, that’s who Jesus is: a human face on an unfathomable divinity. So it’s not strange to me that people would seek out a channel that is even closer to the human experience, someone who had just a spark of divinity within, rather than sharing full divinity with the Father and Holy Spirit.

    At any rate, because I struggle with the role of Mary, I included a Hail Mary in a recent service. I didn’t use quite the same language–I substituted “the hour when we greet you,” rather than “the hour of our death.” Same meaning, but a little less jarring in an Advent service. It was eerie to recite it in a Protestant church. But I hope it was also a step toward reconciling the sects.

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