Blessed Virgin Mary… the lily amid thorns
She was an only child and daughter of her parents Joachim & Anne. A child begotten at their old age. In the Jewish tradition, it is believed that the blessing of a baby daughter comes with it, a realization of the fullness of life. Filled with joy, Joachim and Anne named their baby girl Mary: ‘Mary’ is a Hebrew baby girl name meaning ‘’Wished for a child’’. The name Mary has other meanings in Hebrew but I am led to believe this was the actual meaning her parents had in mind, considering the context of her birth.
Much isn’t said about little Mary’s childhood and just a few we know about her early adulthood. She was a virgin and was engaged to marry a good man of David’s lineage named Joseph.
And that was when the life of this intending bride and groom took a different turn; Thanks to the Holy Spirit, who I like to call the game changer. St Luke, in his gospel has a way of giving all the noteworthy details in any event he wrote about. From his gospel, it was noted, the angel of the Lord came to this young girl Mary and greeted her, telling her how blessed she was. Mary was deeply troubled by this and wondered what it all meant. The angel assured her of how gracious the Lord has been to her ‘You will become pregnant, and give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus’ said the angel. ‘I am a virgin’, she said, How then can this be? The angel told her how the Holy Spirit, will come over her and she will become pregnant. That must be a lot to take in for this young girl, but she just submitted humbly to the will of God.
From that day, Mary became the Ark of the covenant. She became God carrier. A little virgin girl was elevated and blessed by the God which made the baby in her cousin sister’s womb Elizabeth leap for joy upon coming in close contact with Mary and Elizabeth filled with the Holy Spirit called her the most blessed amongst women and the child She will bear. In all these, Mary praised and exalted God.
When the time came for her son to be born, she gave birth to him in manger because there was no room in the inn for them. And after 7 days, her son was named Jesus as was instructed by the angel.
Jewish women were all about family and taking care of their household. Mary was no exception as she nurtured her baby, took care of her home, made sure there was bread and flour for her family. And when the time came for her son Jesus, to be presented in the temple, she and her husband Joseph went with their baby to fulfil the law of Moses. And Simeon, a holy God fearing man lavished praises on Jesus. His parents, Mary and Joseph were astonished on all that was said about their son. But her amazement was short-lived when out of the lips of same Simeon came that sorrow like a sharp sword will break her heart. It was so unexpected for the occasion, so unwelcome. But Mary took it all in the typical Mary fashion: in silence and pondering over it all.
Her only child Jesus grew to be strong with wisdom and God’s blessings ever upon him, she watched over him, protected him as a mother would to a tender child, nurtured, fed and took care of him. The parents went everywhere with their only child and in one of the trips with him, he stayed back in Jerusalem without their knowledge, they had assumed their son was with another group of relatives. They searched for him but didn’t find him, so they had to go back to Jerusalem where they found him after 3 days. She told her son how worried they had been, but her son Jesus didn’t think she needed to be worried as he was going about his ‘Father’s business’. Again typical Mary fashion, she treasured all these happenings in her heart.
Mary is a very sensitive mother, observant, caring. Loving and always a step ahead of her children. An understanding mother, an epitome of humility, purity and beauty. This sensitivity and pro activity manifested at the wedding in Cana when she noticed, the couple had run short of wine, she notified her son, even though her son didn’t think the time for miracles was right but he had to obey his dear mother.
Before Jesus grew to popularity, Mary lost her husband Joseph. Now she was a widow with an only son. And her son grew in wisdom, knowledge, a son who had to fulfil the will of the heavenly father. Even with that she shared this inseparable bond with her only child.
Then the moment came for her only child to fulfil his calling. When that dreaded night came, the night of his arrest, it was obviously a disturbing night for her due to the bond she shared with her son. While he was in gethsemane shedding tears of blood, she was home restless, and so uneasy and she knew that night was different from all others but she wasn’t sure what was in the card until John confirmed to her, her only child Jesus had been arrested.
At that point, Mary knew it had all began. She rushed to her son but wasn’t allowed to be by his side. The two eyes and soul locked and were connected, both felt the pain each was going through. She looked on to see what will become of her only child, his sentencing, the bloody scourging and crowning with thorns, the mockery, the humiliation and the betrayal, when the people preferred the criminal Barnabas to her innocent son. The sword further pierced and ripped her heart. But she took it in the typical Mary fashion, in silence and deep thoughts.
This woman watched as her whole life which was her only child was slowly been taken from her, and she could do nothing to help him but what she did was to follow him every step of the way. She neither wailed nor cursed as any typical mother would: she was just present with her sorrow stricken heart.
Then these heartless soldiers laid this tree of the cross on her son, and commanded him to carry it to his death point. With blood gushing, ripped skin, sweat of blood, whips, insults, torn beards all on her son. She followed him, witnessed all his falls, and when she caught up with him and could gain access to him, she held him, looked into his eyes as if to say, ‘I am here’. This meeting further drove another sword to her heart. She took it all in: the typical Mary fashion. In silence: neither cursing nor swearing.
And after a torturous journey with her son to Calvary, her son was nailed to the tree of the cross, she looked on: a poor widow watching the life of her only child slowly ebb away.
The love between these two can’t be described because even in His pain and torment, He understood the pain His mother was going through and He made last provisions for her on earth when He handed her over to His beloved disciple John to be his Mother and John to be her son. And shortly after, He Died. She saw him die. She saw her only child die.
And the time came for His body to be taken down from the cross, Joseph of Arimathea didn’t want her to witness it but John now her son, asked Joseph to go ahead as this woman Mary had seen the worst. And he went ahead, let her son down by first removing the nail on His feet and proceeded to remove those of His hands, when this was done His lifeless body fell on His left shoulder, the sacred head rested on the back with the two hands dangling on both sides: Now Joseph placed the holy remains on the laps of his Holy mother.. Has any sorrow greater than this been recorded in the annals of human history?
My hands are shaking as I write this, its 4:42am now and I already have a headache writing what I perceive this woman went through, which might not even be all in the real sense. If Jesus was recorded to have died at 32years, then Mary should have been in her 50s or late 40s-a widow losing an only child. Before I wrote on the Virgin Mary, I asked her to give me the privilege and inspiration to write on her and I crowned my request with a Hail Mary. That is because, though as her consecrated slave, I know I ranked first amongst her most inconsistent and careless children but the catch is that I am so in love with her son, my heart is on fire for her son and what girl wouldn’t try to win the heart of the mother of the man she is in love with?…I am not careless in that respect…lol
She is so amiable and agreeable to me. Her son Jesus expects me to remember all He said to me 2000 years ago and keep them ever fresh in my heart. He doesn’t permit me to cry, panic or be afraid sometimes just like He didn’t expect His parents to search for Him while He was about His Father’s business. For the fact He has said it in His Word. He expects me to take it as it is and ponder on it day and night. But with Mary, she understands that I get afraid sometimes, she understands that I often times get anxious and could even doubt, she understands all these and is in tune with all of my feelings…she just offers it all up to her son and mediates for me so that I and her son Jesus, the love of my life can come to an agreeable medium.
Today she is the queen of heaven and of earth, I say she’s the best thing that has happened to mankind. We have this woman to run to whenever our wine runs out, and most times she notices on her own and beckon on her son on our behalf. A paragon of beauty and grace. Humble and pure. I am so unworthy to be writing about you Mother, just that I have pondered on You for far too long a time. You know, Reading, meditation and daily masses are my habitual companions — -Writing for me is the expression of all three.
Show me more of you my blessed Mother, Mother of our Lord Jesus, The refuge of sinners like me and my lily amid thorns.
Mother Mary, this is just my poor perception of your life , sorrow and glory. Please reveal more of yourself to me and while you are at it increase in me humility and purity so that I too may conquer the devil. Amen