Modeling the Faith of Mary in Her Calling and Life
In the liturgical life of the Church, Saturday is the day of the week in which we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was the disciple who best kept faith on the day that Jesus spent in the tomb. Today, nine months before Christmas, yet in the midst of Lent, we also celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation which reminds us of Mary’s response in word and action to bear Christ to the world. As a consequence, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, this marks the moment when the Word became flesh, when God’s human life began as the blessed fruit of her womb.
The liturgy refers to the Incarnation as the “marvelous exchange.” The Son of God became the Son of Man so that we could become children of God. He took on our pain to give us a share of his life, a share of his eternal sonship. Jesus’ incarnation is woven together with his death, as Saint Paul writes, “Though he was in the form of God, [he] did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).
Mary shows us how to accept such a wondrous gift of God – a share in his divinity – and how we too should respond to God’s calling in our lives: “Let it be done unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38). In the Blessed Virgin we learn that the way of discipleship is the way of humility and fidelity, trusting in God’s plan for salvation for us individually and for the world. Mary’s “Yes” was her saying in effect, “Although I do not always understanding the unfolding of God’s plan and God’s providential order, nonetheless, if God calls I accept. If God challenges, I respond affirmatively.”
Mary’s fiat is also a gift to us. Her “Yes” to being the mother of Jesus, the Mother of God, opened the way for her to be Mother of the Church, mother of you and me. From the Cross, Jesus said to Mary, “Woman, behold your son.” Then he said to his beloved disciple, “Behold your mother” (John 19:26-27). As Pope Francis explains, “These words of the dying Jesus are not chiefly the expression of his devotion and concern for his mother; rather, they are a revelatory formula which manifests the mystery of a special saving mission. Jesus left us his mother to be our mother. (Evangelii Gaudium, 285).
Throughout the ages, with countless people turning to her, Mary has watched over humanity with maternal solicitude, which we will celebrate in a special way in May with the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima. As we continue our Lenten journey toward the sure hope of her Son Jesus Christ, Mary is our guiding star, the Star of the New Evangelization who eternally points the way for us.