Last week in bible study we joined up with a girls study for some bowling and a quick study on femininity and masculinity. My friend Rachel led the girls study and provided the reflection on our Blessed Mother, and I provided the reflection on St. Joseph.
Mary, Mother of God
- Who is Mary?
Mary is a guiding light for us. She is the only example that we have of a perfect and sinless woman. Mary demonstrates a beautiful character through her roles as both wife to Joseph and mother to Jesus. And through these roles, she portrays perfectly the vocation women are called to. But she is not simply an example to women – she is mother of all. Both men and women can look to her as an example of prayer, humility and selfless love.
The Character of Mary:
- Capacity for the Other
- Resonance of Mind and Heart
Luke 1: 26-38 “In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, ‘Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ But Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?’ And the angel said to her in reply, ‘The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.’ Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.
- How does Mary demonstrate receptivity in this passage?
- What does this reveal about Mary’s role as a wife or mother?
“The existence of Mary is an invitation to the Church to root her very being in listening and receiving the Word of God, because faith is not so much the search for God on the part of human being, as the recognition by men and women that God comes to us” – JPII
John 2 1-6: “On the third day there was a wedding in Cana, in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ [And] Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servers, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’
- How does Mary demonstrate her “Capacity for the other”?
- What does this reveal about Mary’s role as mother?
Luke 2: 41-51 “Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.’ And he said to them, ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.”
- How does Mary demonstrate her “Resonance of Mind and Heart”?
- What does this reveal about Mary’s role as wife and mother?
John 19: 26-27 “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.”
– We have looked at how Mary has played a motherly role in the life of Jesus from the moment of his conception up to the point of his painful, yet, redeeming death. At this moment, Mary became mother of not just the beloved disciple, John, but to all of Jesus’ beloved disciples…us. At the foot of the cross, at a time when she is feeling so much pain and sorrow in her heart, she still gave a “yes” to the Lord and accepted us as her children.
– Mary is a true model to all Christians because she is a model of being open to the will of God. She bore Jesus Christ in her womb and bore him into the world. Her mission has always been to bring Jesus Christ to the world and to bring the world to Jesus Christ. Let us go to her with all of our needs, our sorrows, and our joys. She will rejoice with us in our triumphs and will console us in our suffering. Mary is truly a gift from God to us, so let us entrust ourselves to her, knowing that she will bring us to her Son.
St. Joseph is a fantastic model for what true manhood is especially in his virtue, faith, and charity. His family was the most unique family ever: his wife was the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, and their son Jesus was God. Imagine that craziness. And though spiritually St. Joseph is the “least important,” he was still absolutely vital. Even though not a single word by St. Joseph is recorded in scripture, he still teaches men so much by his actions.
When he found out that Mary was pregnant while they were “engaged,” instead of shaming her, St. Joseph did not plan to make a scene of it but to quietly divorce her. Think of how tough that situation was! The penalty for cheating on a man in those days potentially could have been death, by stoning! And yet St. Joseph was going to spare her as much contempt as possible.
Next, St. Joseph had a strong enough faith to trust the angel that announced to him that Mary’s child was God’s child. Again, what a ridiculous situation that we completely take for granted. God’s child! And again, St. Joseph did not abandon Jesus and Mary but trusted God.
Also, St. Joseph honored our Blessed Mother and her special role in history by protecting her virginity even though they were married. We think that priests and sisters have a sacrifice to make in celibacy: how about a properly married couple being celibate? And Mary wasn’t bad looking.
He took his entire family and fled when the emperor was having all of the children killed for fear of Jesus, thanks to a warning from an angel. He has faith in the angel again, and doesn’t abandon Jesus and Mary but takes them to Egypt, a completely foreign country, in order to escape.
St. Joseph worked to provide for Jesus and Mary. Again, we can’t take this stuff for granted: his wife was sinless and his son was God, and he had to work a day job to support them?
At all times, St. Joseph honored God and put God’s plans before his own convenience, even when it was ridiculously hard. St. Joseph is a model of virtue and sacrifice for all men.