Mary Most Simple – a woman in love with her God and her family!
During the month of May, we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. We see her as holy. After all, she is the Queen of Heaven and Earth. She is the Mother of God.
Like Mary, we are called God’s beloved daughters and sons, the temples of the Holy Spirit, and the bearers of Christ to the world. But we look at Mary and can sometimes be overwhelmed by how far above us she is.
Yet, Mary saw herself simply as “the handmaid of the Lord.” Her greatness is really in her simplicity as a simple, down-to-earth person. As a young lady, Mary followed the simple custom of engagement so the announcement of the Archangel Gabriel troubled and surprised her. But in trust, she consented to the normal role of being with child, married Joseph and gave birth. She nursed and weaned her child. With Joseph, she taught her child to talk, walk and read, like other parents. Mary cooked, hauled water, and cleaned house. She decorated for celebrations and planned surprises. She loved, pondered and treasured.
Mary initiated the miracle at the wedding in Cana. She hastened to see Jesus when some said that he had gone mad. She walked with Jesus on his Via Dolorosa and stood at his cross. She embraced his dead body and buried her beloved son. She served as a mother to the friends and followers of Jesus. She showed them how to wait upon the Spirit. On Pentecost, she was with them as the Word again became Flesh – their flesh – in the power of the Holy Spirit. She was assumed to heaven, taken body and soul, to our eternal heavenly home. And there, she is present to us always as our Mother, Queen of Peace, Mother of the Church.
This Mary Most Simple simply lived her daily life extraordinarily well. In this Year of Faith, we would do well to imitate the faith of Mary, who trusted in God. “Let it be done unto me according to your word,” she would say. Her faith was a confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and convictions about things we do not see. She trusted God. Her faith was solid.
Like Mary, we can find confident assurance that everything is going to be alright. Faith reminds us that all things are not made easy, but all things are made possible. Faith reminds us that whatever the situation is, God will handle it and God is still in control. Or, as the Letter to the Hebrews says: “Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see.” (Heb. 11:1).
But, how do we live like Mary in our day? Our world needs love and mercy! St. Paul, in his letter to the Colossians listed virtues that will help us to live like Mary. He says we should possess heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. But then he says: “Over all these virtues, put on love.” And why? Because if we have love, we WILL be compassionate; we will be kind and gentle. We will be able to serve God by caring for the people in our lives.
We can be a legion of love in the name of the God of love, a legion of mercy built on the example of Mary, Mother of the Church.
In the Divine Word,
Bishop J. Terry Steib, SVD