In our Education for Ministry seminar, we do an exercise of reflecting on Mary right before we take a break for the holidays. Below is what finally came to me after a week of wrestling with this exercise... and sitting in a contemplative place before the start of our Advent Lessons and Carols.
Without you, where would the story be?
A young girl, visited by an angel,
who announces you will bear the Son of God,
God with us.
Enormous responsibility for anyone,
especially a teenaged girl.
You pondered these things in your heart.
What questions did you have?
We hear you asked,
“How can this be for I am a virgin?”
Oy vey, Maria!
How the question of your Virgin Birth has vexed the scholars,
tested the theologians, and raised more questions.
Were you a virgin, or just a maiden?
Does that matter?
The church has examined, debated, and lifted you up to heights hardly human.
You have been the comfort to many,
speaking words of wisdom
to those who would listen.
You have been the unattainable, unrealistic version of female,
the “forever a mother” standard.
Is it any wonder that when they see you now,
you are always in tears?
in your own moment of truth,
you recited your ancestor Hannah’s prayer.
Praising God for raising the lowly
and scattering the proud.
Again, God had shown
a memory that stretches backward and forward
never forgetting God’s people
and calling on the least to do great things.
without you, the story is not our story.
God came to be with us.
God came to us.
Through you, with you, and by you
we have a Savior born in our likeness
leading us to the one
who made us in the likeness of God.
Our circle completed with your consent.
Sancta Maria, Theotokos.
Blessed be your place in this incredible story.