Just like Mary

May 8, 2021

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. I was thinking about Our Blessed Mother this morning as I prayed with the Magnificat. The very first part of this morning’s prayer is a hymn to Mary – “Be Joyful, Mary, Heavenly Queen, Alleluia”.  Those beautiful words spurred my thoughts. I remembered how as children we were encouraged to “follow Mary”, to emulate her actions. For many years I thought that was impossible, that I would never be like Mary.

Mary was created by God without sin. During Mary’s entire life, we are told, Mary never sinned. Mary was completely open to God and loved Him with all her being. I have recognized since childhood that I am not like Mary in that way – how could I be, as I have sinned countless times? I know that many times throughout my life, I have turned my back on God and gone my own way and only later recognized my errors. 

As I sat in my recliner praying along with the Magnificat, I thought more intently about Mary. I imagined Mary’s joy at looking into her child’s eyes when her child was an infant, of how she must have smiled to see Him looking intently back at her, as all infants look at their mothers. I imagine Mary’s baby making all those sweet sounds babies make as infants, and how their small arms and legs move as their brains learn to move their bodies. I remembered my thoughts then as I looked into my child’s eyes and cared for her and heard those sweet sounds and saw her growing day by day. Just like Mary, I was blessed to experience those sweet and tender moments.

Mary had a household and a family to care for – a husband and a son, who both needed to be fed and clothed and a home to be tended. Mary had friends and people who cared for her. Though the bible doesn’t mention any friends of Mary, we know that with all the goodness and gentleness that was Mary, she would have many friends, who supported and cared for her during her life.

The song continues: “Your Son who died was living, seen”, and I thought about Mary’s pain of watching her Son die, how much pain she too suffered. And I remembered my own child’s pain when her boyfriend took his life and nothing could comfort her, when my own daughter learned that she couldn’t have children of her own, when she needed surgery to heal her body from an illness. I remembered how I suffered along with my child, how I worried about her, and how I wished that I could take her place and suffer for her. I knew as I pondered what I had experienced with my own child that I was like our Blessed Mother, for she too suffered along with her Son and would have willingly taken His place on the cross.

After the angel visits Mary and announces the Incarnation, Mary accepts God’s call to be the mother of Jesus, she is told that her cousin, Elizabeth, is with child. Mary travels nearly 90 miles to visit her cousin, to help Elizabeth during her pregnancy. I remember the times I visited with my sister Jill, as she struggled those last years of her life, how I visited with my parents and my aunt Rose when they were ill and needed help. My journeys were easier than Mary’s, as I didn’t have to walk the distance to visit them, but because of my love for these people, I took those journeys willingly – just like Mary, whose heart was full of compassion for those who are struggling.

The Bible tells us that Mary pondered and held all these things, those special moments of her life, in her heart. I ponder, too, about all that I have experienced in my long life. I pray for those I love, perhaps just like Mary. In those quiet moments of every day, as I go about my work, I lift my heart to the Lord – just like Mary must have done so long ago.

I can never be sinless, as that was a special gift from God to fulfill Mary’s destiny. God has given me special gifts to help me with the path He has chosen for me. God has given me a family and good and sweet friends to share my burdens. I am so grateful for all that the Lord has done for me – and as the hymn proclaims:  “holy is His Name”!

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