Saturday, January 2, 2021
Being the Mother of God is not something Holy Mary arranged for herself. Rather it was a privilege and blessing given to her by God in his great plan for the salvation of mankind. The Child Jesus did not come as a response to her deep desire and longing but came as a gift and new creation of God. At the Annunciation, Mary was free to accept or not to accept God's invitation to be the mother of the Redeemer. We thank Mary for her Fiat, her "Yes" to become the Mother of God.
To become the Mother of God was no easy task: it had its costs. Mary had to endure the trials that came with her "Yes." The life of Jesus and especially his passion and death brought much anxiety, confusion and pain to her. Though there were many things she "did not understand," "she kept all these things in her heart." Amidst her doubts, struggles and pains, she constantly kept her total faith and trust in God who she believed would maintain his care and keep his promises.
What is the significance of Mary as the Mother of God in our times? For one, she challenges us to say "Yes" to God's urgings and invitations, though we may have doubts and uncertainties. Is God leading us to some change or reform in our lives or to some new relationship or adjustment in relationships towards a renewed life?
We need the example of Mary's courage and strength as she showed her resiliency and faith in the midst of challenges and difficulties. Tradition tells us that her husband Joseph died rather young; her Son Jesus met his death in his early thirties; she saw the birth pangs of the early Church. We too meet a whole variety of crises in our lives, especially with this pandemic; we see pain, tragedy and destruction in the lives of peoples, communities and nations.
The Church rejoices that Mary is the Mother of God. It also celebrates that Mary is our Mother: "when Jesus saw the Mother, and the disciple whom he loved, he said to the Mother, 'Woman, this is your son.' Then he said to the disciple, 'There is your mother.' And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home."
We recall advice given by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta to those in fear and anxiety, that they call upon Mary, "Mary, please be a mother to me and to us now."
As we begin the New Year, we can rely on Mary as our model in the way she had offered herself as Mother of God. We can articulate Mary's generous and total surrender to God in a prayer attributed to former Jesuit Superior-General Pedro Arrupe, "More than ever, I find myself in the hands of God. This is what I wanted in my life, from my youth. And this is still what I want. But now there is a difference: the initiative is entirely with God. It is indeed a profound spiritual experience to know and feel myself so totally in his hands, in the hands of this God who has taken hold of me.