Tag Archives: Mary

Advent & Looking to Mary.

Today marks the beginning of Advent.

Like other Jews, Mary (mother of Jesus) longed for the fulfillment of the prophecies promising a Savior to Israel. (Never could she have imagined, even in her wildest dreams, that she would be the one to bring Him into the world!) In my life, I’m (still) waiting for the fulfillment of so many of God’s promises to me.

As I go about Advent, I am going to look at Mary and the hope of her Son. No matter how painful the waiting (for all kinds of fulfillment), I want to be strong as Mary was. I want to trust His promises to me. I want to grasp onto His faithfulness, to trust, even when there is no hope within my line of sight.

I want to say “yes” as Mary did, and not to count the cost. Her cost for saying “yes” to conceiving the Savior could have meant death for her. I don’t know if the cost for me will ever mean physical death (as a martyr), but it does mean dying to myself and my own plans every day.

I want to say “yes” and not question why He asks a certain experience of me. Mary didn’t question why she specifically was being asked to carry out the magnificent task of carrying the Son of God within her womb and mothering Him. She simply said: I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38) I have many questions about why I am asked to carry certain things. Why am I entrusted with this or that? Yet, His plan is sovereign and wise. I want Mary’s courage to simply say “yes,” only looking forward and keeping my eyes on Him.

I can’t imagine the temptation to impatience there was for Mary during her pregnancy. Can you imagine being told by an angel that you would conceive in a supernatural way…And not only that, but that the child would be the Savior of all humanity! Mary protected Jesus in her womb for 9 months and waited all those months to behold her beautiful Savior face to face. She must have faced persecution for her out of wedlock pregnancy, most people not having a clue of Whom she carried. Yet she carried the evidence of what people believed was sin in her body, waiting and waiting to hold Him, and for the world to know Who this special Child was.  In all of my waiting…To finish school for a more fulfilling job where I will no longer live paycheck to paycheck, in waiting to meet or know who my husband is, in waiting to find a more permanent living situation…Impatience. Yet most of all, longing for the day I meet my Redeemer face to face, and live in perfect joy forever with Him and all the saints. Waiting. There is always something to wait for. The waiting, the longing, the feelings of never being settled…Mary teaches me to wait. She is teaching me endless strength, and to have faith. She shows me the example of a woman who followed the Lord without fear, no matter where it led her.

So now I step into Advent, a season of the Church where my daily lived experience is made manifest. I’m thankful to have Mary to look to for the virtues I need the most at this time. Most of all, I’m grateful that she said “yes,” so that our Savior could come into the world!

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” Luke 1:45

MamaMary.jpg
Courtesy of Howard Lyon
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Choosing the Better Part.

Lately I’ve been learning the lesson that Jesus taught Martha about choosing the better part. And it’s a lesson that I will need to continually learn as my life evolves.

As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman

martha-and-mary
found on pinterest

named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”~Luke 10:38-42

Before I’ve written about how difficult it is to balance my job, school, and all the other aspects of my life at this point. I’ve learned without prayer, it all falls apart. Without Jesus as my Pilot, I crash. Sitting at the feet of Jesus fills me up. The Living Water fills me up to pour out to others and into my callings in life at this time.  It is all about relationship. When I neglect my other relationships, too, things do not go well. Community brings a sense of peace and focus to me that I lack on my own. I need time with Jesus, and I need time with others who love me and encourage me (while I do the same for them). 

Choosing the better part means choosing relationship over the tasks that “need” to be done.

I’m learning what it means to choose the better part. I want to set aside my “important” tasks and sit at the feet of Jesus. It is there where I gain all I need. It is the better part, and it cannot be taken from us, as Jesus Himself tells us.

Jesus, The Great Interrupter

“Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them,  and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.”-Matthew 4:18-22

A few months ago, I heard a sermon that really stuck with me. The sermon was based off of the reading above. It brought up an idea I hadn’t thought of before: Jesus as the “Great Interrupter.” Usually we think of an interruption as something negative. Jesus brings another kind of interruption: He asks us to let Love in, and to allow our lives to be radically transformed. He asks us to abandon or re-evaluate our plans and ways of living for something greater.

1-Duccio_Calling
found on bible-people.info/Peter.htm

When James and John set out on a boat that day to start work, they didn’t know that their lives would never be the same again. They had no idea that they would literally drop their nets, their careers, and lives as they knew it, and follow Jesus. What an eventful day that must have been! Mary certainly wasn’t expecting an angel to show up to her family’s abode in Nazareth and announce that she would carry the Son of God in her womb! Think about other stories in the Bible. Jesus never leaves things as they are.

 

We make plans for our lives. Some of us are determined and don’t want anything to derail us. Are you ready for Jesus, the Great Interrupter? If He asks you to lay down your plans and take a different direction, are you ready? Or are you determined to push away all interruptions, even if your Lord were the one stepping in? Take a moment to reflect. Is He stepping in and asking you to take a different direction?

Jesus: the Great Interrupter. With Him, our lives here and eternally  will never be the same! 

 

Mother’s Day & Mother Mary

A very happy Mother’s Day to all mothers! Please remember to pray for those women who are trying to have children but have been unable to due to infertility or failed adoptions, as well as other circumstances. Also remember those who have lost their mothers. This can be a difficult day for many.

ImageBesides the woman who gave birth to us, we have a heavenly mother. Catholics place a huge emphasis on Mary, the Mother of Jesus. She is, after all, the one whom God chose to give birth to His Son–to God Incarnate! That’s a huge deal. And Jesus gave her to the disciples, and consequently, to us, as He hung on the cross. Despite this, it can still be difficult for some of us to wrap our minds around devotion to Mary. A few months ago, I was able to view the film “Mary of Nazareth.” My devotion to Mary has been forever changed. Yes, really, the movie was that good! While I’m sure not everything was totally accurate, it really helped me to visualize the woman Mary was. I saw her deep faith against all odds, the scrutiny she faced for saying “yes” to God, resulting in pregnancy out of wedlock, and the connection and intense love and trust she had for the Lord. Her love for all others along her path was also evident, including those society detested. Mary was an absolutely amazing woman, and she loves all of us and hopes for us to know her Son. She is constantly interceding for us! Check out the film if there is a screening near you.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.