mother Mary

Meister Eckhart said it this way;- “We are all meant to be mothers of God, for God is always needing to be born.” In some circles, we are too cautious around the life and respect due to Mary in the Christmas story. I’ve bumped into readings this week that have confronted me with her unique place in human history as the woman who birthed the divine Christ, God-made-flesh. Her story offers us a window into one person’s experience of receiving the will of God into her heart, her body, and her life. We’d do well not to dismiss her. Mary was more than just an available womb.

She was a particular kind of person for whom all of human history had been waiting.……a person who was willing to receive Christ into the very depths of her being, allowing Christ literally to dwell there in the darkness until the fullness of time when God’s will would be completely revealed. There was a spiritual essence contained in the person of Mary that made her the right one to participate so fully in God’s plan for the redemption of humankind. Part of that essence was her capacity to be totally given over to the will of God. She said yes to God with “a courage that opened her utterly.”

Whoever Does the Will of God is my Mother Mary, it turns out, is a powerful example of what is means to be a true disciple—one who desires nothing more than to know and do the will of the Master. She is one who receives the Word of the Lord as a seed that is planted in darkness, allowing that seed to take root and grow until it becomes fully mature and pushes its way into the world.

What, then, is involved in birthing the divine will? What sort of person is able to open to God so utterly that they incarnate Christ in the world? Those who say yes to God have the capacity to believe that the things that God has spoken deep into our souls will be fulfilled. Those who say yes to God seek the support of others in responding faithfully to what God has revealed. Those who say yes to God must learn to live between the polarities of strength and vulnerability. Mary embodied a spirit that responds with the deepest kind of yes to the will of God when it becomes known. It was this spirit that she passed on to her son, Jesus. That is why it comes as no surprise that there is a profound parallelism between Mary’s willing response to the angel’s pronouncement about the will of God in her life (Here I am. Let it be with me according to your word) and Jesus’ response to God’s will in the Garden of Gethsemane (Yet not my will but Thy will be done.) Jesus was who he was because he was his Father’s child but also because he was Mary’s child.

May we not take lightly the challenge that Mary’s life presents to us—the challenge of saying yes to God in all the strange and compelling ways in which he calls. 

May God give us the grace to say yes when he asks us to be an incarnation of his Word in the world.

May Jesus himself turn towards us and say, “Here is my mother and my sister and my brother—this one who is doing the will of God.”