May is traditionally known in the Catholic faith as the month of Mary. In this month we celebrate the woman who was chosen to bring the Son of God into the world. She has only a few passages related to her in the Bible, but in each one, we are given an example of how to live a life filled with grace and dedicated to the will of God.
To start, she agrees to one of the most overwhelming and intimidating requests I can think of without much information at all. She’s asked to bear and raise the Son of God. It’s intimidating enough to raise a child who only thinks they’re divine, much less one who actually is. Mary agrees to the plan without hesitation. I love her response: “I am the handmaid of the Lord.”
She lives to serve God. She knows without doubt that God’s plan is worth following, no matter the cost. I would love to have such confidence and peace. I fight God’s plan all the time. I hear a calling and I question it. I wrestle with my insecurities and my need to know the whole plan before I start something. I grow frustrated when it is difficult and doesn’t go as quickly or as smoothly as I would like. Those are the times I should look to Mary and remember.
“I am the handmaid of the Lord.”
“Let it be done unto me, according to your will.”
She is the OG of Let Go and Let God.
Then, she heads over to Elizabeth to help in her pregnancy. The first response to being filled with the Holy Spirit and Jesus is to serve others. As she walks in, Elizabeth knows. Isn’t that how it should be with us? When we walk in the door, people should see Jesus within us. We should shine with His joy, love, and peace. We can only do that if we allow ourselves to be filled with his Spirit. How do we do that? Back to the first example – just say yes. Listen for and follow God’s will for you.
There are several more – the nativity, Jesus’ dedication in the temple, and even losing the Son of God for three days. I have to say, I’d be a little nervous about the punishment for that one. Each time we see Mary in the Gospels, we are given a glimpse into a life of great faith. See what you can find in each one.
If all of this is a little new to you and you’re not sure what to do with Mary, you are not alone. As a spiritual director, I have many people who struggle with Mary’s role in their faith. Most of the questions have the same basis: “Why do I have to go through Mary to get to Jesus?” As with most struggles in faith, the question is coming from the wrong direction.
Mary isn’t the gatekeeper to Jesus. She is a gift that we have been given. She is a mother who loves her Son. Wouldn’t you like her to tell you about Him? She taught Jesus as a child. She can teach us if we want her to. She was so close to God’s heart that He chose her to carry the Savior of the world. Wouldn’t you want her to pray for you?
This month, look to Mary as an example of faith when you need a little encouragement. Ask her to help you say yes to God. Ask her to pray for Jesus to fill your spirit and shine brightly through you. From what I’ve seen, she’ll be happy to help.