Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab
Psalm 45:10, 11, 12, 16
1 Corinthians 15:20-27
Christ Empowers Mary – and us?
Mary exults in response to an intimate experience of God entering her life: My spirit rejoices in God my savior! This would not have been possible without her faith and trust in God. Faith kept her open and connected. Trust allowed her to freely respond to God. This is active faith and active trust.
Mary’s experience is available to us as well! We don’t have to be at our very best. We don’t have to earn it! This life giving experience is a gift from God to those who struggle and suffer. It is God my Savior whom Mary praises.
Mary also prayed: He has looked with favor on my Lowliness. This is not some sort of spiritual humility, some kind of putting herself down. Her lowliness is her actual, social reality: a young, female, poor, peasant – oppressed by both political and religious rulers, struggling with her family and neighbors to survive. She has been chosen because she is a lowly woman! God chooses to overshadow her to empower her to do His will!
Her family was descended from Abraham and Moses. They knew what God had done for their ancestors. They would take Mary to the synagogue. She would hear the Scriptures. (In Galilee women and girls were allowed to be present for the Sabbath prayers).
Mary did not have much to hope for in the midst of her family’s poverty, but she trusted their God. She learned how to be attentive to the voice of God. And when God spoke she listened.
Mary’s ancestors, Miriam (see Micah 6:4), Ruth (see Ruth 1:1 ff) and others had obeyed the voice of God. God had helped them. Mary trusted that God would also help her to obey. God could use her because of the quality of her faith and the depth of her trust.
God also speaks to us! Do we listen? Do we hear? How do we respond?
Meister Eckhart remarked: “What good is it if Christ is born of Mary and not born again in us?” I would ask, “What good is it if Christ empowers Mary but we refuse to be empowered?”
- Fr. John M. Lee, C.P., is Retreat Director at Bishop Molloy Retreat House: “The Passionist Spiritual Center in New York City”. www.bishopmolloy.org