Today’s feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a time when I like to pause and reflect upon the young Jewish maiden who courageously gave her “yes” to become the Mother of the long-awaited Messiah—and to the mystery that constantly unfolded during her lifetime. When I do so, I discover once more that Mary is truly our advocate and model, a beacon lighting the way to her Son Jesus.
I find today’s gospel describing Mary’s visit to the house of Zechariah to be a wonderful starting point for reflecting on Mary’s faith and trust in God.
“My soul finds joy in God my Savior” [Luke 1:47]. Elizabeth, her cousin, must have been bedazzled with wonder and awe, knowing that Mary was carrying her Lord and her God! Even John was “bouncing with delight” in his mother’s womb! I love Joan Chittister’s description of this moment as the first “Small Christian Community.”
“For the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.” Elizabeth advises us of the importance of looking to Mary as our model, for Elizabeth says to Mary (and so to us): “Blessed are you, Mary, who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled” [Luke 1:45].
Mary trusted in her God and pondered the many events that unfolded in her life because of her yes. In her Song of Praise, she acknowledges her lowliness. “For God has looked with favor upon his lowly servant…and holy is God’s name” [Luke 1:48]
There are so many moments in the gospel when Mary inspires me. With Joseph, she made an arduous journey to Bethlehem. As a “homeless woman,” she gave birth in squalor and laid her child in cow’s trough. With her newborn son clutched in her arms, Mary traveled with Joseph to Egypt and became a stranger, a refugee, an immigrant in a foreign land! Mary experienced so many joys and sorrows, losses and findings, deaths and risings, all the while pondering these things in her heart! She truly trusted the Word of God in her heart!
There is one more gospel story of Mary that always inspires me. Fast forward to the joyous celebration in Cana. Mary takes in the embarrassment of the parents hosting a wedding feast for their children and the dilemma of running out of wine! She shares her concern with her Son, Jesus. With unfailing trust, she then told the servants, “Do whatever He tells you” [John 2:5].
These are the final words of Mary recorded in the Scriptures. They are powerful, instructional, and invitational words—words that come from a mother who had deep trust in her God, a loving and courageous mother who answered the call of her dying Son to be the Mother of all God’s children! “Behold your Mother” [John 19:27]. After the death of Jesus, John took Mary into his home, loving her and being loved by her.
We too can take Mary into our hearts and treasure her as our own. May we rest in the embrace of our Mother who will always point us to her Son!
To Jesus, through Mary!
– Sister Patricia Hogan, OP
Sister Patricia (Pat) Hogan serves God's people as a Pastoral Associate
at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in West Nyack, NY.