As the Advent season comes into full swing, I have begun to prepare myself for the birth of Christ. During this time, I have been reading a daily reflection that has truly made me think hard about myself as a mother. When Mary said “yes” to God did she know what was coming at her? Did she know that her son would be the Savior of the World? Did she know that he would be deliberately sabotaged into a death on the cross? Did she know that Jesus would then ask her to be a mother to all?
Mary said “yes” and that changed the whole world. She submitted all she had to God. She trusted so much in His divine power that she was willing to give everything she had (which wasn’t much at the time) to Him. What she had to offer was greater than she ever could have imagined because she bore in her womb the King for all of us.
As Mary nurtured this baby into a young man, I hope she found time to hug and love on him. Jesus’ time as a young child was something to savor for Mary. Even as a young teen, Jesus knew that He was God’s son. Remember when he was lost at the temple, and Mary was worried and returned looking for him? He was gone for 3 days, yet Jesus met Mary and explained to her He was “taking care of his father’s business.” Period. Done. Mary accepted this not because Jesus had his mom wrapped around his fingers, but because she knew she had said “yes” to it all. Submit to God. Trust in God. Give God everything.
Recently, in my reflections I read that Mary took over all of mankind as her children. When Jesus said to John (while Jesus was dying on the cross) that he should take Mary as his mother and Mary should take John as her son; this was for all of us. Jesus was explaining to John that now Mary would be mother to all of mankind. She would lead all to Jesus because she knows the way. She had given all to God when he asked her, and now she would lead others to do the same. Who better to teach us how to submit everything to God, than the one who did so herself?
Mary knew in her heart that she could not change Jesus to be what she wanted. She had to allow Him to be what God wanted. She raised him according to God’s commands and because she was so open to God’s love and generosity, she heeded those commands even when it caused her much turmoil. Amazing love.
If I only learned to do the same. If I only saw that my children’s crutches could be traded for God’s assets. If I only listened and heeded God’s commands. Imagine what my children could do for God? Catholics are so often shamed that they worship Mary as an idol. That is far from the truth. I have to tell you after the reflections I read this week, I can plainly see that Mary is not an idol. She is a mother. A mother who led her child according to God’s will. A mother who if we ask for her prayers, will intercede for us in our journey here on earth. She understands the turmoil that we all go through here. She embraces our struggles just like an earthly mother. She cares about each of us because that is exactly what Jesus commanded her to do. On the flip side, Jesus commanded us to take Mary as our mother. Yet do we really heed his command? Do we really trust that Mary can help us find Christ more fully, more completely?
When Mary said “yes” do you really think she realized the magnitude of what she was accepting? She said yes to a King for a son, a virgin birth, a crucifixion and a house filled with children that she never bore – mankind. Mary isn’t an idol. She is a way for us to find Christ. Mary is a way for us to see that devotion and trust can change a world. She is a blessing to all of us.