I didn’t grow up Catholic, and so I’ve gotten to know Mary gradually over the years. For a long time, I kept my distance because I could not have children. I thought, What does the eternal, ultimate mother have to do with my life? How could she possibly know how I feel or what my personal struggle is like?
For those of us who grew up with calm, submissive images of Jesus’ mother, the idea of Mary was not necessarily attractive. After all, we’ve spent centuries trying to break free of the submissive, passive model of womanhood. We want female role models who are strong and who speak up for themselves!
But if we consider Mary for her courage, the image shifts. She was willing to be, for all practical purposes, an unwed mother in a culture that had zero toleration for that situation. She was willing to approach Joseph, the man who now had power over her life, and tell him a tale that no reasonable person would believe. She was willing to say yes to God, when God had given her a mere summary of her life but no real instructions for how to go about it.
For the next day or two, imagine the angel Gabriel visiting you in the wee hours and telling you about your life. What do you think the great angel will say to you? What has the angel already said? And what will you do with it?