The witnesses identified Mary raised higher than the figures of Joseph and St. John on either side of her. Her eyes were raised to heaven, and her hands elevated in a gesture of prayer. She wore a large white cloak, hanging in folds and fastened at the neck. She wore a brilliant golden crown on her head, the upper part of which was a series of sparkles or glittering crosses. On her brow was a beautiful golden rose.
As the Holy Family of Nazareth is a model for all families, Mary especially models the unique contribution to the Christian family of the wife and mother (Amoris Laetitia 173-175).
When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she was chosen by God to conceive and bear the Son of the Most High, she was deeply disturbed knowing herself to be a virgin. When the angel told her that the conception of the Son would be brought about by the Holy Spirit, Mary gave her consent. This was the moment that all creation had been waiting for since the fall of Adam and Eve. As the ‘second Eve’, Mary’s ‘yes’ in obedience to God reversed the disobedience of the first Eve (Luke 1:26-38). Through Jesus’ incarnation marriage was renewed, becoming a new reality, a Sacrament of the New Covenant, of the Church (Redemptoris Custos 7).
From the cross Jesus spoke to Mary saying ‘Woman, behold your son’, and to the apostle John ‘Behold, your mother’ (John 19:26-27). This means more than Jesus’ desire to have care taken of his mother, but rather he gives Mary as mother of the Church, in the person of John. Significantly, Mary was present at the birth of the Church when the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples in the upper room in Jerusalem at Pentecost (Acts 1:12-14). So Mary is more than a model of motherhood, she really is mother to every Christian family.
At the marriage feast of Cana Jesus performed his first miracle at Mary’s request, even though he first protested that his hour had not yet come (John 2:1-12). This demonstrates Mary’s power of intercession with Jesus, on which we can continue to rely now that she is in heaven with her Divine Son. Mary’s influence with Jesus is pre-figured in the Old Testament. Jesus is king in the line of David, and in the Davidic kingdom the Queen Mother occupied the highest place of honour at the right hand of the king, who would grant her every request, if possible (1Kings 2:13-20; Psalm 45:9).
By the power of the Holy Spirit and by embracing the sword that pierced her most pure heart, Mary brought forth the Christ and supported him, even to death on the cross. Fill our hearts with love, gratitude and honour for our Mother, sinless from the moment of her conception, especially as we meditate on the mysteries of her most holy Rosary. Let Mary, virgin, wife, mother and widow inspire us by her example to always do God’s will. May we follow Mary as she says to us: ‘Do whatever Jesus tells you’ (John 2:5). Saints Joachim & Anne, parents of the Virgin Mary, pray for us.
My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her lowliness,
henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
The Almighty works marvels for me. Holy his name!
His mercy is from age to age, on those who fear him.
He puts forth his arm in strength and scatters the proud hearted.
He casts the mighty from their thrones and raises the lowly.
He fills the starving with good things, sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, his servant, remembering his mercy,
the mercy promised to our fathers, to Abraham & his sons forever.
Mary’s ‘Magnificat’; Gospel of Luke1:46-55.