03 December 2008

Full of Grace

One of my favorite things about being Catholic (there are many) is enjoying a rich and blessed friendship with Mary. This time of year that friendship is particularly sweet. Contemplating the endless ways Mary leads my heart to Jesus is in itself a feast for the mind and soul.

Today, though, I was thinking how strange it is that Mary is the source of so much contention and strife between Catholics and Protestants. How is it that arguably the most faithful, obedient, trusting and loving follower of Christ
ever can be such a lightening rod of controversy? What Christian wouldn't want to follow her example?

Can any of us say we would have the faith and courage to do what she did?

Would you?

Would I?

She obeyed at the risk of her own life. Joseph had the legal right to have her stoned to death and she knew it. It's not as though Gabriel told her, "Don't worry about Joseph's reaction. I'm going to explain everything to him."

Her instinct to obey the Lord was stronger than any instinct for self-preservation. From the word "Go" she was only interested in doing God's will completely. The cost did not matter.

Later, she did something much, much harder than risking her own life. She witnessed her son's execution. She did it without losing her faith, without ever breaking trust with God.

Now, I'm not a physically imposing woman. Okay, I'm a total wimp. I probably couldn't punch my way out of a paper bag. But I assure you, if you threaten one of my children, I'll take you out with my bare hands. Period. Now you've made Mama Bear angry, and you're in trouble.

But Mary, so full of grace, walked every inch of the road to Calvary with Jesus and stood at the foot of His cross. She listened to the cursing, hateful, vile wickedness being spewed at Jesus from his murderers (that would be me), and never intervened to stop it. Can you even imagine that? As a mother, could you watch and do nothing while someone brutally killed your child even if you knew it would save someone else? (Someone who didn't deserve it!)

She quietly restrained herself and trusted God to accomplish His plan. She squelched the mother's instinct to protect her child, the urge to trample those who hurt her baby out of perfect obedience, humility and TRUST. She knew God, knew He was faithful and knew she wanted to cooperate with His will.

If that's not a perfect example of loving and serving God with all your heart, soul,
and strength, then I don't know what is.

How amazingly wonderful it is to have such a woman for a friend...a blessed mother...the Blessed Mother. Gentle woman, tower of strength, beacon of faith, humble servant...O, highly favored daughter!
Now I pray that God will enable me to grow in grace and follow her example...

"I am the handmaid of the Lord...Let it be done to me according to your word."

©2008 Jennifer Hartline


ConversationsWithACupcake said...

Jennifer...Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. It's so nice to have you along!

I love your musings upon Mary. My oldest daughter has always loved Mary. I mean, ADORED Mary. Whenver Christmas came around in her toddler years, she wanted to talk about her and read about her and watch her in every live nativity we could possibly attend.

I ADORE that about her. I think we sometimes carry very pure memories of heaven in our souls, and think that--for whatever reason--that love for Mary was something she came to this earth with. I think it would be nothing but a gift for my daughter (and any child or woman) to seek to emulate her. A lovely, lovely thing.

Jennie said...

Hello fellow Jennie... I too love that spelling and I don't see it very often on anyone else... When I was younger Jennifer was THE name, so I started to spell it like that, much to my mothers amusement, because I had to be different.....

I loved this post, so true, Mary was, and is, a perfect example of faith.... I love bloggers who aren't afraid to put their faith out there.... I am off now to check out more of your blog... but honestly, you had my hooked at the title.... I am a glutten for some good chocolate.... oh, and I totally dig all things Mother Teresa.....

Mrs. S said...

I think that it's wonderful you enjoy your faith the way you do. Very inspiring.

thanks for stopping by yesterday! I appreciate all the kind comments.

Rebecca said...

My Husband and I just watched "The Nativity Story" last night and it sparked a long conversation today about Mary and all that she must have gone through - the burden on her heart, the fear she must have felt. She truly was an amazing woman. I'm not Catholic and I have to admit I have never quite understood the Catholic take on Mary, but I think after sitting and really thinking about it and now even with reading your thoughts I do believe we share a similar admiration for her.


Nesting Momma said...

Thank you visiting me! Yes, of course you may share the "rag man" with your friends and family- I see and understand your respect for mary. I too am in awe of her obedience even to her sons death!

Sandy said...

I've often thought of Mary watching her Son die as I,too, watched my son die.

I've always loved Mary, but connected with her on a whole new level (mother to mother) when I experienced Noah's death.

Thanks for this beautifully written post.



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