I began my Marian reflections in June 2020, very recently. It was a simple, unguided and a very scattered place to start. After 2 books, lots of YouTube videos, questions, discussions, weekly novenas, silent whisper-prayers and answered silent whisper-prayers, this is what I have come to love about our Lady. Today, 9 Things we can all learn from Mary (and start doing right away)
What are some things that make Mary, Mary?
Why was she chosen amongst all other women? What was so special?
What did God see in a “Jewish teen girl” that almost everyone else missed?
And furthermore: How can I be a “Jewish teen girl” in a century of Tiktok, feminism and you-know-what-else?
How can I possibly embody her virtues in my world? What can I start learning and implementing about her right away?
9 beautiful things we can all learn from our Lady
1. To be sensitive to the needs of others
Mother Mary went to the best party in town (and she helped out even there).
I wonder how many times I forgo the opportunity to attend to someone’s needs because I’m just so lost in my own world. I barely have time to look at what others feel and need. And when I do, it feels like a burden.
Mary realized how embarrassing it would be to run out of wine at a celebration. (It’s like forgetting your purse on the first date). Mary immediately realized that she needed to do something. And she did it.
Let us love in action. Let us be sensitive to the things that go unsaid. Phone your friend who seems a bit distant lately. Visit your parents. Give everybody a bear hug and be of service to others. Help around. Learn to genuinely care.Let us love in action. Let us be sensitive to the things that go unsaid. Phone your friend who seems a bit distant lately. Visit your parents. Give everybody a bear hug and be of service to others. Help around. Learn to genuinely care. Click To Tweet
The level at which Mary obeys throughout her life is clearly priceless. And unbelievable.
Imagine being in 7th grade and an angel appearing to you in the school canteen saying, hey guess what, you’ll get pregnant very soon. It’s a boy- and then you’ll be his mom for 33 years. Take care of him nicely and the story of mankind will have a happy ending (although your son will die a very bad death). Okie, bye.
You get the point? I’m trying to understand how absurd that request may have sounded. And we’re only scratching the surface of everything Mary quietly accepted and said yes to.
Mary said yes. Without questioning.
Obedience comes from deep trust. We can only obey the people that we know love us. Most definitely, We cannot obey God if we don’t have a loving relationship with him. We can’t obey God if we don’t feel his love and concern for our best life
Which brings me to my next point (so clever, Judith)
3. A rock solid relationship with God
I thought it was easy- until I was struggling to not zone out 10 times every minute of my prayer time.
It’s so enchanting to think that the god who made and formed EVERYTHING chooses to have a relationship with you. YOU. Who are you?
An anchored relationship with God is the best, most fulfilling gift you can ever give yourself. It spines every other area of your life and empowers you to be what God called you to be.
Would Mary be capable of fulfilling her call if she lacked the loving knowledge of her heavenly father? I don’t think so.
4. Unwavering and faithful Trust
Mary remained uninterested in outer appearances. She trusted the inside of people and God, even when it was rough. She was carrying the savior of the world. And yet, never once did Mary make a show.
Many studies state that Happiness is directly correlated to trustworthiness. The more people we can trust, the more we deeply believe that they are good and will do good, the more likely we are to be happy and positive (less cynical about life). Read more about that here: “Trust for Happiness“
Mary was always trusting- she wore her heart on her sleeve. She trusted God when getting pregnant was probably the last thing on her agenda. She trusted Joseph’s moves during the whole nativity scene.
Mary trusted God’s salvation and redeeming plan, even at the end when all she could see was Jesus getting beaten and crucified.
5. The Calm-and-poised pout
When in doubt, pout like Mary.
A beautiful title of our lady that I love is ‘Our lady of sorrows’. Mary went through great emotional turmoil, many deeply disturbing events- like most of us do.
Mary was grieved and sad, but not once did she blame or curse god. She was calm. Mary trusted quietly. She remained poised even in the midst of her sorrows because she knew who was in charge. She felt all the feelings, but she rarely acted on them.
I love how Mary’s pregnancy was the most unusual and unexpected among all her friends, and even in the village. Mary, however, seems to be having no discrepancies. As if she almost half expected something like that to happen. She was absolutely calm, poised. Cool as ever, resting in her dear god’s true assurance.
Practice the Calm-and-poised pout with Mary every day. You’ll get the hang of it really fast. (Ok maybe not that fast, but get it you definitely will)
6. to take bold action
Mary was a bold person. Taking bold decisions in faith (like my gap year) felt like nothing else I’ve ever done. The boldness you get to wear when you are seated on God’s shoulders is matchless.
Mary took big steps out of faith. Her ‘YES’ to God was a long journey of uncertainty and maybe, fear. Mary probably felt unprepared. But she took the leap anyway.
Can you count the ‘big steps of faith’ you’ve taken in your life so far?
Also read: Mother Mary put me on the planeThe boldness you get to wear when you are seated on God's shoulders is matchless. Click To Tweet
7. Self-esteem through the roof
If an angel told me I was chosen by God, my first words would be “why?”… There are others. I don’t think I deserve it. How did Mary go from being frightened to instantly being okay with the fact that she was to be God’s mother? Her self-esteem was high up in the sky. She knew from the beginning of her life that she was amazing. She knew God had a purpose for her life. And when it came through, it was no surprise for Mary. She knew she was God’s child and THAT was her identity.
How many times have you talked yourself out of a beautiful opportunity just because you “weren’t good enough”?
A better question to ask would be: where does your esteem come from?
Does it come from a steady place of love and acceptance (like God)?
Does it come from a rising and falling tide of instagram likes, compliments, looks, performance?
Here’s an artwork I absolutely love:
via 6 Things To Notice In This Beautiful Image of Mary and Eve
8. The No-complain catwalk:
Have you ever spent a December night with cows in the open?
Have you ever been pregnant and dolloped from side to side on a donkey’s ride?
It’s not easy, you know.
Maybe we can learn to choose gratitude over complaining? Mary never complained about her situations (again, because she knew god would never leave her side). Can we choose to develop thankful hearts that please god instead of polarizing our mind to find the fault in everything?
The No-Complains-Catwalk is very cool. Practice it with Mary. Highly recommended. *wink*
9. No hard feelings.
Mary was so full of grace, she had no space for grudges. Click To Tweet
Mary was so full of grace, she had no space for grudges.
Throughout his life, Jesus was tortured and insulted by a lot of people, big officials, commoners and everyone in between. But I don’t think Mary ever cared. She knew a secret no Pharisees or Sadducees knew- the eternal plan. She could lay her eyes on the big picture from time to time. Mary never scorned the officials, or yelled as they crucified Jesus. She knew that god was the author of the story and grudges for a troop of soldiers was just not worth the effort.
Pulse check. Actually, heart check-
How much hurt and anger am I still holding against people? Is it benefitting me?
This is exactly what we are called to do:
Mary allowed God to use everyday experience to shape her. She opened herself up for renovation, pruning, polishing, and molding. On some days it hurts. Other days, it felt joyous. Mary stayed true to her word. She became a handmaid- a maid, the hands of God here on earth. She pursued the will of the Lord and followed it endlessly, with every passing day.
How hard can it get?
It’s time to #belikemary