By BENEDICT AUGUSTINE
“First he says, ‘Sacrifices and offerings,
holocausts and sin offerings,
you neither desired nor delighted in.’
These are offered according to the law.
Then he says, ‘Behold, I come to do your will.’
He takes away the first to establish the second.
By this ‘will,’ we have been consecrated
through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.
In choosing Mary to mother His child, God proved once more that He certainly does not see as man sees. He could have chosen the empress Livia, orprincess Herodias, or some other woman who had a better means of caring for the messiah. A woman endowed with good looks, with a sharp intellect, with political connections, or at least one with husband would have merited such a honor, but God instead selects Mary—even having prepared her for the role since her birth.
For all her kindness and humility that wins the hearts of millions, Mary’s greatness still lies deeper. Mary does not simply take on the responsibility of being God’s mother, casting away all cares and taking the plunge into holy motherhood. If people imagine her as some foolish simpleton with as much sense as any other teenage girl with no real prospects or formal education but still quite humble and kind, they still do not see what God sees. The Annunciation should not encourage woman, or their men, to take on parenthood, blithely ignoring the consequences and trusting in their own good carefree nature.
Mary, for all her innocence and youth, can see the difficulty before her. Some may like to think she takes a leap of blind faith and trusts that God will make things work for her, but that distorts Mary’s virtue in accepting God’s proposal. She takes a leap of faith with her eyes wide open. Neither fear, giddiness, nor resignation move her to make her choice; love does it. Mary loves God, loves her fellow man, and will love the child who comes to unite the two.
Although she lacks money, prestige, and an actualhusband, Mary has a heart with the capacity to lovewith superhuman intensity. She can bear the messiah because she can provide the love needed as no other woman can.
All too often, people fall under the impression that Jesus becomes who He is through divine magic. Jesus’ faith, wisdom, endurance, and love just somehow manifest themselves because of His divine DNA. Rarely do people stop to consider that Jesus was fully human and thus received many of these wonderful attributes from His parents, particularly His mother. At the beginning, Mary taught her son to love, to pray, and to communicate with others. Joseph taught Jesus to work, to protect, and to humble Himself. God works through these two saints to raise His Son. This is not magic; this is simply extremely good parenting.
God chose Mary because of her strength, not her weakness. Mary is the best mother in the world, not some foolish adolescent who is in over her head. She knows herself as God does, and she accepts her destiny as the Mother of God. Some might imagine her deliberating over the question of Jesus’ motherhood, with the world staying still with anticipation, yet she likely responds quickly, relieved and happy to have finally received her calling.
In spiritual terms, such an annunciation awaits all Christian souls. God has a calling, and He seeks to right person to answer. The right person will not only make sacrifices of time and energy, but will also do the work as God desires. Men will desire people willing to give up pieces of themselves (time, talent, education, etc.) to show their loyalty; God desires people to willing to give up all of themselves by loving what He loves and doing it with joy.
There exists no better example of this sacrificial love and supreme competence than Mary.