The Gospel of Luke tells us about the Annunciation — when the angel Gabriel appeared to a young Jewish woman named Mary in the small village of Nazareth. Although the Gospel doesn’t tell us Mary’s age, it is believed that she was probably no more than fourteen or fifteen years old. Even though she was betrothed to a pious carpenter named Joseph, it is also possible that Mary had consecrated herself as a virgin to the Lord. Undoubtedly Joseph understood this and respected her wishes, as he was an exceptionally devout Jew. The reason for this assumption is that even though Mary was a young girl, she lived in a village around farm animals daily. She certainly was aware of the “facts of life,” yet when the angel Gabriel told her that she would conceive and bear a son, she was amazed. Since she was engaged to be married, it shouldn’t have surprised Mary for the angel to tell her that she would conceive and bear a child. However, if she were planning to remain a virgin after her marriage, then she would have cause to ask the question, “How can this be since I know not man?” (Lk 1:34).
Joseph knew Mary to be very devout and naturally was surprised when he found out she was pregnant, but it is very unlikely that Joseph, knowing Mary as he did, suspected that she had been with a man. Rather, it is more likely that Joseph believed Mary when she told him about Gabriel’s message, and because of his humility and not realizing that God had a place for him in this plan, he decided to send Mary away quietly. However, God revealed to Joseph in a dream that he was to take Mary as his wife and that all that was happening had been foretold by the prophet Isaiah. When Joseph awoke he took Mary as his wife. And as the prophets had foretold, the babe was born of a virgin in Bethlehem. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among men.
We refer to Mary as the Mother of God because she gave birth to Jesus, who is God. This does not mean that Mary existed before God. In Luke’s Gospel, Elizabeth greets Mary by saying, “how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” By being the mother of Jesus, Mary is indeed the mother of God.
Not only is Mary the Mother of God, but also she is the foremost disciple of Jesus. She, therefore, is the perfect example of both Mother and disciple.
Lord Jesus, we thank you for creating Your mother, Mary. We thank you for her example to us as not only the perfect mother, but also the perfect disciple. As a creature like us, she gives us great hope and inspiration by her example. As our heavenly mother, we are comforted knowing that she intercedes for us and prays for us. And as Your mother and disciple, we know that she is always drawing us closer to You and saying to us, just as she did to the stewards in Scripture: “Do whatever He tells you.” Thank you, Lord, for our Blessed Mother. Amen.
Other Saints We Remember Today
Octave Day of the Nativity
Circumcision of the Lord
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