Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mary's Answer

"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be it done unto me according to Your word."  (Lk 1: 38)  With this reply, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, changed the course of history.  She was responding to the Angel Gabriel who had been given the task of asking Mary to become the Mother of God.  Mary, devoted to the word of God, did not have to think about her reply for one second.  It was God's will.  There was no question as to what to do.  What is even more astonishing is the fact that Mary had the perfect right to refuse God's request and remain within His good graces all because of His gift that all of us share, free will.

Mary had the ability to reject God's offer without any explanation.  God bestowed upon man the freedom to choose to do what he pleases even if what he chooses is in direct conflict with the will of the Father.  God promised that He would never interfere with this freedom and, true to His word, He has never forced anyones hand into doing His will.

Mary's answer determined the course of history.  Christianity would become a dominant religion based upon the teachings and life of her Son, Jesus.  In our country, for instance, had there been no Jesus, our laws might look much different since this country was founded upon the principles found in the teachings of Jesus and those of the Old Testament.  Had Mary declined God's breathtaking offer, it is likely that the books of the Bible would not have taken on the relevance that they have.  It is also more than likely that if Mary had refused to become the Mother of the Redeemer, Jesus may never have been born!

God created Mary for one very specific and one very special function, to be the Mother of the Savior, the Messiah.  Everything else that she might do with her life was secondary.  Mary understood this and also understood that she would not have had to agree with God's offer.  But she did not hesitate.  In her answer, she reassured the world that the Messiah would soon walk among us, teaching us the Father's will, and supporting all who follow that will. 

Mary was singled out by God to be the Mother of His Son.  For this reason, Mary must necessarily be conceived without the stain of sin.  No impure vessel could ever be the home to the Divine Son of God.  If Mary had refused God's offer, would He simply have chosen someone else to bear His Son?  That cannot, of course, be known for certain one way or the other since Mary did indeed consent to be the Mother of Christ.    

In light of the fact that Mary was but a young peasant girl when she consented to such an enormous request, one must stand in awe of her self-sacrificial nature.   She did not pause for one moment to weigh the consequences or to try to determine what was in it for her.  Rather, she boldly accepted God's offer and never looked back.  She moved forward through time, using her life as an instrument of praise of the Father.  Once her Son was born, she introduced the world to Him and every day in every way led the human race to Him.  From the manger to the Cross, Mary stands by, pointing the human race not to herself, but, rather, to her Divine Son. 

We must never worship Mary for worship is reserved for the Blessed Trinity.  However, we must honor Mary for her selfless decision that allowed her to become the human vessel for her Son.  She is to be admired for her tireless devotion to her Son and constant quest to bring mankind to His love and mercy.  Mary's answer was an answer that quietly shook the foundations of the world and changed all our lives for the better.  Through Mary, we come to know Christ as only a mother can come to know a son.   May we come to understand Mary's action in the light of faith keeping always in mind that she was only the vessel that brought the Savior of the World into our midst.  And for that, we need to be eternally thankful.