Jesus, you always seek out places to dwell in our world. You first found comfort in the womb of Mary and then in the home she and Joseph built for your protection. As you look for a place to dwell in the modern world, please find a comfortable and secure place in my mind, on my lips and in my heart.
Help me to believe as Mary did and to proclaim your goodness. But also, give me the courage to seek you out. As we look for each other on this amazing journey, we will increase the chances of finding each other than if only you, my Good Shepherd, are doing the looking.
Son of Mary, help me to do as you did and accept the will of God. After accepting it, help me to fulfill whatever you command in me. Amen.
“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:45)
We end this month-long celebration of Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, with the Feast Day marking the Visitation of Mary to her sister Elizabeth – the second Joyful Mystery. Just as Elizabeth encounters Mary, we have had a chance to reflect on our encounters with Mary and her role in our faith especially this month.
And what an amazing role it is!
One of Mary’s principal roles that she models for us is as believer as Elizabeth cried out in today’s reading. Throughout Scripture, Jesus directly blesses those who believe and the evangelists place Mary in crowds of believers and single her out explicitly by name.
When the crowd encounters Mary in (Mark 6:31-35), Jesus elevates her modeling role from that of believer to one of action – one who does the will of God. We get the first hint of this role in Luke 1:38. “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Jesus reinforces this through Mark’s story.
His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers (and your sisters) are outside asking for you.” But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and (my) brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. (For) whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
The Magnificat, the central prayer in today’s Gospel from Luke fits in well with all these themes and others: joy and exultation in the Lord; the lowly being singled out for God's favor; the reversal of human fortunes; the fulfillment of Old Testament promises.
In contrast, while Zechariah is rendered mute because he did not believe (Luke 1:20), Mary, a believer, is given the beautiful hymn to sing. (Luke 1:46-55) After this poetic dialogue with Elizabeth, we hear only two more short declarations spoken directly by Mary in scripture.
Certainly we have other encounters with Mary:
When she presents Jesus to Anna and Simeon in the temple
When she and Joseph find Jesus preaching
When she waits outside while Jesus is preaching
When she stands at the foot of the cross
When she prayers with the believers in Acts
But, neither Luke nor any of the other evangelists provide detailed accounts of any lengthy dialogue spoken directly and solely by Mary except for three short sentences in which Mary models for us more behavior to emulate – seeking out Jesus and doing as Jesus commands.
1) In Luke 2:48, Joseph and Mary find Jesus in the temple and Mary greets her wandering son with these words: When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
2) In John 2:5 at Cana, Mary tells the wine steward, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Otherwise, she kept everything else to herself – the foreboding blessing of Simeon, Jesus’ ministry and miracles, the Passion, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, and the descent of the Holy Spirit – reflecting on them in her heart. (Luke 2:19). Behold your mother.
Where can you seek Jesus today? What is Jesus telling you to do?