Mary is a model for all women, not just mothers, but all of us who take a risk and trust in a God who takes our comfort zones and stretches them far wider than we ever thought possible. This young maiden is celebrated today in the Catholic church–Mary, Holy Mother of God. That is quite a title.
When I think of Mary, I do not imagine her as this stunning statue of a Black Madonna in Montserrat. I loved this statue and I did pray, as St. Ignatius did centuries ago, before this Mother and Child. I see Mary as a vulnerable girl, yearning to serve her God. That Mary I can relate to. I can understand her desire. I can feel her fear and confusion crumple in the face-to-face encounter with the Divine. She trusts that all shall be well. That is a decision she will have to make time and time again as the story unfolds. The shepherds were the first to show up also at the prompting of the angels in today’s Gospel. Mary had much to ponder over the next 33 years and beyond. We spend all of our lives looking at stretch marks from God, just as she did.
As we enter a new year, many make resolutions. I have considered a few small ones, but the one that keeps coming to me is to remain vulnerable and open. Do not close my heart in fear. Do not narrow my mind to options. Do not squander my spirit on thieving emotions that leave me wanting. Say yes as Mary did, is what I keep returning to. Watch for the miracles. Leave room for wonder and awe. Listen for possibilities. When I want to say no, pause and consider what the alternative might bring.
Psalm 67 was beautifully sung tonight at mass–May God be gracious to us and bless us. These words seem so true already to me. God has been already so gracious with abundant blessings. Perhaps if I just open myself to life I can receive those blessings of mercy. Mary is a model of an openness that can transform the world. I may not be able to master that but I will never know unless I try. Any step in following her footsteps is in the right direction. Join me to being open to Goodness in 2017?
How do you interpret Mary’s yes?
What stretch marks do you have from carrying the Christ child?
Oh, my belly has stretch marks that I can still trace. The labour was hard but you knew I would bring forth a miracle. You, God, are always gracious to us and bless us beyond our wildest imaginings. May my heart be open and vulnerable to joyfully do your will. May my yes ring out throughout this coming year. Amen.
Hi Suzanne. A wonderful post for the new year. I especially like how you have used stretch marks as a positive metaphor. As a new mother in my 20’s I was mortified to see the visible markings that pregnancy left on my body. The beauty industry doesn’t help with its advice to “avoid/hide ugly stretch marks”. The metaphor of stretch marks as a visible and transforming sign of saying “yes” to God and to Life with all of its joys and sorrows is quite profound and lovely to me. Thanks Suzanne and happy new year!
Yes this would definitely make more sense to women who have had babies….even more meaningful for them than me. HNY to you and Ron.