We have been blessed with several Church-approved apparitions of the Blessed Mother throughout the years. In each of these appearances, Mary has urged repentance and the importance of following Christ’s commands. As we struggle to lead holy lives, wouldn’t it be nice if Mary could speak to us and give us the necessary encouragement to keep on the right path? Fortunately, that is entirely possible and it can happen TODAY! By opening up our Bibles, we can hear the Blessed Mother speak directly to us and help us to grow closer to her Son, Jesus. Although Mary only spoke on four occasions in Sacred Scripture, each of her statements provides a wealth of information. By meditating on her words TO EACH OF US, we can become more like her and grow closer to the Lord. In this, the first of a seven-part series, we’ll be looking at her first recorded words in Scripture…
“How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” (Luke 1:34)
After being told by the angel Gabriel that she has been chosen to be the Mother of the Savior, Mary is confused and asks a simple question. Given the fact that she (like us) is not divine, there are times when she had questions about God’s will. Even though she was sinless, Mary didn’t have all of the answers. We see evidence of this a few verses earlier when (upon Gabriel’s arrival) she “pondered what sort of greeting this might be” (Lk 1:29). The common belief of theologians throughout the years is that Mary was confused because she had consecrated her virginity to the Lord. Although not the norm for married people, this practice was not unheard of in Mary’s time. Always desiring to do what’s right, the sinless virgin proceeded on the course she thought was best…and then the angel appeared with some new information.
How many times are we confused about what God wants us to do? We struggle to discern His will for our lives and we have questions. We may feel the urge to take a more fulfilling job, but don’t know how we’ll survive on less pay. We may feel the call to the priesthood or religious life, but are fearful of giving up the possibility of marriage and children. We get the idea that maybe we should volunteer and help people, but we don’t know how. As my own life illustrates, when the Lord calls us to do something, He doesn’t provide all of the details up front.
In addition to those instances requiring us to make a decision, sometimes we aren’t given a choice. Rather, we are faced with an unexpected illness, devastating personal problems or financial difficulties. Although these situations occur without our consent, we still may question why they are happening. How will I survive? What will I do? Why is God letting this happen?
Mary’s words to the angel remind us that it’s OK to ask questions. If you feel that God is asking you to do something, but you’re not sure how it’s possible, go ahead and ask Him for details. Mary did. If you’re carrying a heavy cross and can’t understand why, ask the Lord to enlighten you. Unfortunately, I can’t promise that you’ll get the answer you want. Instead, the Lord’s answer may be, “trust me”. If that’s the case, you may be asked (like Mary) to go along with His plan without knowing all of the fine details. If you have a difficult time doing that…join the club! However, don’t ever forget that Mary can help you tremendously. As someone who’s “been there, done that”, she knows exactly what you’re going through. Turn to her and ask her to share some of her faith with you. I can guarantee you that, as stated in the Memorare, “never was it known that anyone who fled to her protection, implored her help, or sought her intercession was left unaided.”
Next Time: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.” (Luke 1:38)