August 22, 2016
Mary's unique relationship with the Holy Trinity is what we are all called to aspire to; she demonstrates a perfect closeness with God, responding to His call and serving Him in every aspect of His Being. I wrote the following Marian reflection last year, and I thought I would share it today on the Feast of the Coronation of Mary:
At Mary’s coronation among the saints in Heaven, she was welcomed by God: by God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Imagine the joy at their reunion; imagine the love with which each person of the Trinity received and crowned her Queen of Heaven.
God created Mary as daughter, mother, and spouse: Daughter of the Father, mother of the Son, and spouse of the Holy Spirit; Daughter of Anne and Joachim, mother of Jesus and of us all, and wife of Joseph. Likewise, all women are called to be the daughter, mother, and spouse of God, in ways that are unique to each of our vocations. He loves each of us as a father loves his daughter, as a son loves his mother, and as a husband loves his wife—and infinitely more.
God the Father created us and gave us life; he has a plan for each of us and guides us on the path that lies ahead. Just as Mary gave her “Yes” to the Father at the Annunciation, we should seek to say yes to God’s will for our life, to obey His commandments and come to him as a child to a loving father. He created us with immeasurable love and care for every detail of our being; we can place all our trust in Him just as Mary did.
Jesus has made Himself vulnerable to us; He allows Himself to be humbled to take the form of bread and wine, and He entrusts Himself to our care, to be carried in our faltering, imperfect hands. Just as Mary once carried Jesus in her womb and nurtured His growth, it is up to us to create a loving home for him within our souls, so that He can be protected and nurtured to grow; we must carry Him out into the world, spreading His word and unending love to our brothers and sisters. When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we hold Him within our very bodies and become living tabernacles, and we can look to Mary the Theotokos as an example for how to protect, sustain, and share the life of Jesus within us.
The Holy Spirit comes to support us in the good fight, to stand alongside us and fill us with the new life that we need to carry on in the Christian life. Mary was able to fulfill God’s mission for her life and conceive Jesus in her womb through consecrating herself to the Holy Spirit: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). So too will we experience an abundance of graces by turning to the Holy Spirit as our partner on the journey. When we unite our souls and wills to the those of the Holy Spirit in a life-giving union, cooperating with the grace of God and loving Him devotedly, we will gain the spiritual gifts necessary to live our Christian faith, just as the apostles did at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit fights for our cause and aids us in our mission here on earth.
Every woman will find unique opportunities to fulfill these roles here on earth. We are daughters of earthly parents, called to love and obey those who raised us, and all of us are daughters of the Heavenly Father. Some women are called to be earthly mothers and nurture young souls, while all of us are called to act as spiritual mothers, to be a nurturing presence to those we encounter in our lives and to be receptive to Jesus in the Eucharist. Some women are called to consecrate themselves to God through religious life; others are called to the sacrament of matrimony, where a couple consecrates themselves to each other in a unique way. All women are called to partner themselves with the Holy Spirit and join their hearts and wills to God’s mission for their life.
In all of these instances, we are following Mary’s example in serving God: we honor God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and when we serve others, we honor them as being made in the image and likeness of God—we see Jesus in them. A tired mother who rocks her child to sleep is caring for Jesus; a woman who welcomes the homeless and serves them a meal does the same. There are opportunities to serve everywhere we look, and we can begin by asking for Mary’s intercession. Her closeness to the Trinity makes her the perfect model to demonstrate how we are all meant to come to God.