Life must have been very difficult for Mary. An innocent maiden in her early teens, she receives a vision that she will bear a son who will be the messiah. And she wonders since she “knows not a man”. She gets betrothed and she is found to be with child even before the marriage – a definitely scandalous situation in an extremely patriarchal society, enough grounds to call off the betrothal. Then, she gives birth in a stable. Then, she loses her child when he was just seven years old. Then, he lives in her house until he is thirty-ish, at which time he becomes an itinerant preacher. And then he brings her more heartaches as he stirs up the hopes of the poor, the outcasts and the dregs of society and makes enemies of the powers that be. In the end, she sees her son crucified as an ordinary criminal -hanging on a cross.
Through it all, she stayed. In spite of all the tribulations in her life, she was always there for him. She could still sing, “The Almighty has done great things for me.” Despite all the troubles her son was stirring up and the enemies he was creating, she kept her faith and trust in him. She tells those who would listen, “Do whatever he tells you.” How did she do it? Simple. “His mother treasured all these things in her heart.”
In her heart. In silence. In prayer, Mary kept these things in her heart. God spoke to her, and to us, through our hearts – that most tender and most sensitive part deep inside, as when we say “Have a heart.” That is where He abides in love. The heart is also the strongest and toughest part in us. As when we say “Take courage.” We face up to life’s trials and vicissitudes with heart. In prayer, we see our difficulties turn into blessings; our misfortunes become the mighty deeds through which God declares His presence in our lives. He takes our tears and turns them into joy.
Mary has shown us the way – in our heart, in silence, in prayer.
With delight, I rejoice in the Lord.
When Mary, the mother of Jesus, was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together;
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”