Mary’s Holy Boldness

by Kathleen Glavich, SND on May 11, 2016

in Blogs

 

immaculate-conception-1767-9-detailIn this month of May devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, it is fitting that we reflect on her. I’d like to focus on one of the many ways that she is a model for all Christians: Mary had courage as she fulfilled her mission of bringing forth Christ into the world and furthering the kingdom of God. As human as any of us, Mary experienced fear several times during her life. Yet, she conquered her nerves to do what she knew she had to do. Granted, since she was “full of grace” and filled with the Holy Spirit, she had a special reservoir to draw on for her accomplishments. Still, her life was not a bed of roses. She encountered several thorny situations.

The first test of Mary’s courage occurred when the angel Gabriel appeared to her. The Gospel doesn’t tell us what form he assumed, but it does reveal that Gabriel had to reassure Mary, “Do not be afraid!” Mary doesn’t faint or run away from the apparition but stands her ground. Gabriel announces that although Mary was a virgin, she would be the mother of God’s holy Son, who would be king of an everlasting kingdom. Mary immediately responds, “Let it be.” She is diving into unknown waters. She has no clue what being God’s mother would entail or how she will carry out this role. She does not know what Joseph, her parents, and the neighbors would think of her pregnancy or how they would react. More intimidating was the fact that Jewish law called for the stoning of unwed pregnant women. But still, Mary says yes and sets the world on the course of salvation.

Because Gabriel brought Mary the news that her elderly cousin Elizabeth was also miraculously pregnant, Mary’s kind heart is impelled to go help her. This, too, was a bold move. Despite carrying the Savior of the world, Mary dares to make the 90 mile journey to Elizabeth’s house. The road was rocky, sometimes steep, and beset by bandits eager to attack caravans. Nonetheless, Mary undertakes the treacherous trip. After Elizabeth’s baby is born, Mary returns back over the 90 miles, and this time she is at least three months pregnant, and perhaps experiencing morning sickness.

Mary again shows courage when Joseph is required by law to go to Bethlehem. We don’t know whether or not she was obliged to accompany him, but she did. Now Mary was nine months pregnant and risked having her baby along the side of the road!  Besides, she had never given birth before. She does bear Jesus in a stranger’s poor accommodations, probably a cave, a shelter for animals. If this stressful event isn’t enough to try Mary’s soul, Joseph informs her one night that King Herod is determined to kill her baby boy. The little family is forced to flee many miles to a foreign land, Egypt. Where will they live? What work will Joseph find there? This next journey doesn’t faze Mary. She deals with it.

At the wedding of Cana, Mary dares to prompt Jesus to work his first (and unplanned) miracle. Her courage at the wedding leads to happy ending for all involved.th

Of course, Mary most deserves the title “Mother of Courage” because when Jesus was crucified, she was present, standing at the foot of the cross. The male friends of Jesus had all fled for their lives, save one, John the apostle. Yet, Mary bravely suffered right along with her Son.

Throughout these daunting experiences, Mary never faltered. She didn’t change her mind about being the mother of God. No, she steadfastly followed God’s plan for her, no matter what it cost her personally.

During this month, Mary’s month, let’s ask her, who is our heavenly mother, to obtain for us the grace to imitate her courage.

What is your favorite prayer to Mary? Your favorite image of her? Your favorite Marian hymn?  (One of mine is below.)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy Gartlan OFS May 11, 2016 at 7:54 pm

My favorite is the Immaculate Heart of Mary statue I have from childhood. And song would be “Ave Maria.” I often cry when certain singer’s sang. Perry Como always got to me and Mom would get a kick out of me crying when we watched him sing it on his show. It such a beautiful tribute to our Blessed Mother. I recently learned that when praying the Hail Mary, towards the end you can say, “Pray for [insert name]” instead of “us sinners.” EWTN FR. Larry Richards did it for his dad and nearing his death time he decided to convert to Catholicism. So it works for your special prayer need of a certain person.

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Kathleen Glavich, SND May 12, 2016 at 12:44 pm

That adaptation of the Hail Mary—asking Mary’s help for another person—is new to me too. Thanks for passing on the idea here, Kathy!

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Sr. Juliemarie McDonald May 23, 2016 at 1:21 pm

Kathleen, been at computer working on the Corpus Christi poem, which I think you will enjoy–So I decided to answer a few e-mails. Thanks for giving me inspiration. JM

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Kathleen Glavich, SND May 24, 2016 at 8:37 am

You’re welcome, Sister. I really like your poems!

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