Sunday, December 20, 2009

Waiting With Our Lady: Humility

When I was a little girl, I was in love with the movie "Song of Bernadette". I remember being permitted to stay up a little later one Sunday night to watch it and crying myself to sleep because I wanted to see the Blessed Mother so badly. It's no accident that Marian visionaries are so often people like Bernadette Soubirous: simple, unassuming and humble in all things. Had I been privileged to view the face of the Mother of God, I probably would not have been able to get through a doorway for the size of my head.

The first thing Mary does after Gabriel's visit to her is to head for the hill country so she can wait on her cousin Elizabeth. She doesn't take a moment to rest on her laurels, so to speak. After proclaiming herself as the handmaid of the Lord, she goes out in service of another, despite the way she herself may have been feeling. Later, as she and Joseph head to Bethlehem for the census, she says nothing to the innkeepers who turn them away. She doesn't berate them for refusing lodging to the Mother of God, nor does she mention that she is carrying in her womb the Messiah. Rather, she goes quietly with Joseph to the stable where she will give birth.

Mary recognized that any greatness she had came not from within but from God. She did all things in His service. When we are so infatuated with ourselves that we are blinded by our own nothingness, we prevent God from working through us. Mary achieved perfect union with Him not only because she gave birth to Jesus but because she made herself less to make Him more. When we don't get recognized for something; when we are overlooked while others are exalted; when we get our feelings hurt because someone forgot to mention us - we should remember Mary. A most simple girl who was the most privileged woman in history and the least self-seeking.

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