The call of Mary in the Gospel is the most important in the bible.
God gives us all freedom and does not force anyone to follow him. Even Mary was free to say yes or no. God provides us with a choice in our call to serve him as well. Today, I pray that you know God’s will for you because God’s will is always good, pleasing and perfect for each of us. God calls all types and ages of people to himself. Mary was a teenager at the time God called her. God calls men and women, old and young, the broken and the doubters, sinners and the saints. God calls all for his purpose. God is calling you.
Mary, after Jesus, is the most influential person in all human history. What can we learn from Mary? Of course, she is unique; she is the mother of God and can’t be duplicated. She is Theotokos (the god bearer as taught in the Eastern Church). Mary bore Jesus in her womb. She bore Jesus, the godman. Together with the Holy Spirit, she gave birth to Jesus. The DNA of Jesus is her DNA. She is the genetic mother of Jesus. Therefore Jesus must have looked like her. He must have had her physical features. She trained him, taught him, and was a significant influence in life.
She sets an example for us. She is the mother of God and the Church. Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the papal preacher for three popes, has a beautiful book called Mary: Mirror of the Church. Some of my reflections come from him. Mary is unique in the history of the Church as she is the only person present at all the great moments of our redemption. She was present at the incarnation, the passion, and the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Jesus became flesh in her. In John’s gospel, we see her at the foot of the cross and Jesus gives care of her over to John the beloved. At Pentecost, where the Church is empowered to preach the gospel, she is there praying with the Church. Each occasion, she models something for us today as the Church.
Mary was present at the incarnation. At the incarnation, she models faith for us. She says, “I am the Lord’s servant and do with me what you will.” I am willing to do whatever He wants for me. We can say this so easily. And we say at times as a last resort oh well, okay, let your will be done in me. She shows courage – not fearlessness –in the face of fear. It is the most significant and most decisive act of faith in all human history. She offered herself up to God as a clean page where He could write whatever he wanted with her life. Total and unconditional trust is what she mirrors to us the Church. Faith is the opposite of fear. She showed faith, as well as her doubts and fears. She pondered things in her heart, scripture says. Can we pray with Mary this act of faith: Lord, I am your servant. I am willing to do whatever you want of me. I don’t know what that is right now, but I know in my heart your will is right for me, pleasing and perfect.
Mary is the model of hope at the passion of Our Lord. Remember, at the temple, the prophet Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce her soul. She witnessed her son being beaten, humiliated, unfairly accused, mocked and eventually tortured and crucified. The worst thing any parent could experience is the death of their child, especially such a tragic and unfair death. He was innocent and she knew it. Mary stands at the cross as hope amid terrible injustice and cruelness in our world. Abraham was the model of hope. He offered his son Isaac and God at the last minute provided another sacrifice. But Mary stood by and watched her son die and seemingly all hope died with him. Mary believed and hoped. She believed and hoped as the Angel said nothing is impossible for God. Following the model of Mary’s suffering cannot destroy us, but through the cross, we can find meaning in any suffering, even in death itself. The world needs this kind of hope. We need the gift of hope more today than ever before and for us, Mary is our model and our hope.
Mary at Pentecost is our model of love. What happened at Pentecost? The love of God is poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Through the gift of the Spirit, we experience the unconditional love of God. Regardless of how bad we feel or are –His love is ours. Of course, she was the first charismatic and was filled with the Holy Spirit when she conceived the Son of God. When she visited Elizabeth, John leaped in her womb; wherever she went the Holy Spirit touched people. She was a carrier of Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Mary is the model of faith, hope and love. She believed before she saw. Mary always points to Jesus. Her salvation was from Jesus and her faith was in Jesus. At the first miracle, she said to the stewards, “Do whatever he tells you. Trust him.” We echo this prayer with the chaplet of Mercy from Sister Faustina: Jesus, I trust in you. Her faith was in Jesus. Her hope was in Jesus. Her love was Jesus.
Faith, hope and love. Which is the greatest? Love lasts forever. We will no longer need hope in heaven or faith. We will see God as He is. But love will last. I spoke to a grandfather recently; he talked about holding his grandson. He said, “When I held him something amazing happened. I felt this deep love coming from me pouring out on him, this little bundle of life. He hadn’t done anything for my life. He hadn’t performed any great act of love for me. He just was there before me. And all I could do was love him for himself.” It is what God says to us today. His love is unconditional. He wants us to know our hope is in him. Our faith is in him and his love for us is unconditional.
I do not know what you are facing today here in your life. Maybe there are people without hope or struggling in faith, and they feel like they can never be loved. I want to say look to Mary and ask her to show you her son. Say with her, I am not afraid, God is with me. I am his servant and I am willing to do whatever he wants of me. You will be like Mary, full of hope to give hope. Full of faith to live and share this gift with others. Full of love to give love to others who do not believe they can be loved so completely and deeply. But you know they can because you know you are loved this way. Mary has shown you the way of faith, hope and love.