With the Feast of the Annunciation coming up, I’ve been thinking of Mary more than usual lately, focusing particularly on why and how it’s important for ME, as a Christian wife and mother, to turn to the Blessed Mother, not only on important feast days or for periodic favors, but on a regular basis. And also on how I need to change the way I think about her sometimes.
Yes, Mary is the perfect woman, the perfect image of faith, the perfect Christian, the perfect mother. Perfect, perfect, perfect. And sinless.
Unreachable, right? Both the visual and verbal images of Our Lady often paint her as an unattainable model – someone we should aspire to imitate, but infinitely removed from the reality of our own beautiful, but flawed, chaotic and sometimes confused reality as spouses and parents.
I’d like to briefly paint a different picture of Our Lady – a picture hopefully a little closer to us. Yes, she is perfect, but she has also gone through a lot of the same emotions, struggles and sufferings we have.
- Have you ever been stressed about not knowing the future? Mary can relate. When the Angel came to her, she did not know what the future held for her, or how it would pan out.
- Have you ever felt a little insecure, wondering how your spouse will react to something you have to say or want to do? Turn to Mary. She trusted the Angel without knowing how Joseph would react when he found out she was pregnant.
- Have you been through a period of financial instability, unemployment, or had to move unexpectedly without having your ducks in a row? Mary (and Joseph) had to move to Egypt at less than a day’s notice, with nothing lined up for their arrival.
- Have you ever lost a child in the grocery store, or faced a teenage child without knowing what to say? Mary feels your pain. She lost Jesus in the Temple. She didn’t understand why he had acted that way, and felt “anxiety” (Lk 2:48).
- Have you ever had a miscarriage, or lost a child in some other way? Mary lost her Son too, and suffered more in the process than any of us can ever know.
- Have you experienced poverty? Mary can relate. She offered up the “poor man’s” offering at the temple – two pigeons.
- Have you experienced homelessness, or felt like your home was inadequate? All Mary had to offer Jesus was a stable.
- Have you suffered from watching your child suffer and being unable to help them? Think of Mary unable to stop the crucifixion of Jesus.
Mary can relate to more of our struggles and sufferings than we sometimes realize. She faced a lot of the same difficulties and more, and even though she was conceived sinless, she had the freedom to fall and turn against God, just like Eve, who was sinless but then sinned. Mary’s initial state of purity came from God, but HER achievement was SUSTAINING that grace by how she reacted to each trial God sent her way. And we can imitate her in that. We might not have the same amount of grace that Mary did, but we can sustain the grace of God in our souls by turning to her more frequently and following her example when faced with life’s daily difficulties.
Wishing all of you a very blessed Feast of the Annunciation!
Looking for family activities to do on March 25?