Mary, Mother of Jesus, led an instrumental
life of prayer and service in the shadow
of her Son. At the annunciation, Mary pondered
the greeting of the angel and discerned God's
will by faith with the guidance of the angel.
She consented unconditionally to God's will,
with humble trust and obedient acceptance
as she replied: "Behold, I am the handmaid
of the Lord. May it be done to me according
to your word." (Luke 1.38)
At the visitation, Mary promptly responded
to the angel's word and travelled through
the hill country of Judea to be of service
to her cousin Elizabeth for three months.
When Mary arrived, Elizabeth, filled with
the Holy Spirit, greeted her as the mother
of the Lord. Mary responded to Elizabeth's
greeting with her prayer, the Magnificat
(Luke 1.46-55). Her prayer praises the Lord's
majesty, celebrates His mercy to the humble
and poor of heart, and rejoices in the mission
He has chosen for her, as the Mother of God.
The birth of Jesus was preceded with a pilgrimage,
when Mary traveled with Joseph to Bethlehem.
At the moment of His birth, heaven joined
earth in praising God, as the angels announced
the good news to the shepherds. The shepherds
went promptly to pay tribute to the newborn
Son. As they announced to Mary what they
had seen, Mary "kept all these things,
pondering them in her heart." (Luke
At the presentation of Jesus in the temple,
Mary and Joseph participated in the liturgy
of their faith. She marveled at what Simeon
said about her Son, and she accepted the
prophecy for her role: "Behold, this
child is destined for the fall and rise of
many in Israel, and to be a sign that will
be contradicted (and you yourself a sword
will pierce)." (Luke 2.34-35) Mary accepted
all that had been told to her, and she remained
faithful to God's will.
At the wedding in Cana, Mary interceded for
the wedding party, presenting their needs
to her Son: "They have no wine."
(John 2.3) Then she instructed the servers
with words which are also addressed to us
today: "Do whatever he tells you."
(John 2.5) As Mother of God, Mary intercedes
for us before her Son, and she invariably
leads us to Him, instructing us to obey Him.
When Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem at
age twelve, Mary and Joseph searched for
Him frantically for three days until they
found Him in the temple, discussing doctrine
with the teachers. Mary relayed the full
impact of their trial of faith to Jesus when
she questioned Him: "Son, why have you
done this to us? Your father and I have been
looking for you with great anxiety."
(Luke 2.48) From that day until the beginning
of His public ministry, "He went down
with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient
to them; and his mother kept all these things
in her heart." (Luke 2.51)
Throughout Jesus' public ministry, and especially
at the pinnacle moment of His passion and
death, Mary was united with her Son in prayer.
As He hung dying on the cross, Mary stood
by Him, her heart pierced with the sword
of Jesus' passion. Jesus entrusted His mother
to the beloved disciple John, as He entrusts
her to us today: "When Jesus saw His
mother and the disciple there whom He loved,
He said to His mother, 'Woman, behold, your
son.' Then He said to the disciple, 'Behold,
your mother.' And from that hour the disciple
took her into his home." (John 19.26-27)
Following the Resurrection, Mary united herself
in prayer with the disciples: "All these
devoted themselves with one accord to prayer,
together with some women, and Mary the mother
of Jesus, and his brothers." (Acts 1.14)
Just as her prayer was instrumental in drawing
down the Word of God into the flesh of her
womb, so was her prayer pivotal in drawing
down the Holy Spirit at the birth of the
St Teresa of Jesus gives us an account of
Mary's role in her life: "When my mother
died, I was about twelve years old-a little
less. When I began to understand my loss,
I went in my affliction to an image of our
Lady, and with many tears implored her to
be my mother. I did this in my simplicity,
and I believe that it was of service to me;
for I have by experience found the royal
Virgin help me whenever I recommended myself
to her; and at last she has brought me back
to herself." (Life, 1.7)
This poem celebrates the prayer of Mary which
is ever present in the shadow of her Son.
To the conception of the Lord,
Mary consented with her prayer:
"Let it be done as per your word"
By the Spirit, the Son she'd bear.
From His conception past His death,
Mary prayed in Her Son's shadow;
Unto the cross from Nazareth,
Her heart carried her Son's sorrow.
The Spirit's arrival was sought
In Mary's prayer with His brethren;
In prayer the Church herself was wrought
With Mary, blessed of women.
By the lowly Virgin of earth;
The Son of God wrought our re-birth.
O Mary, Mother of our Lord,
May we say yes to Your Son's will;
And stay faithful with one accord --
Through you, God's calling, we'll fulfill.
St Teresa Of Jesus, Her Life
Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs
2617 - 2619, 2673 - 2679
(c) Paul Buis, 2005
image (c) Tricia Of The Sacred Wounds Of Jesus, 2008