From Among the Lowly

First Reading: 1 Samuel 1:24-28
Psalm: 1 Samuel 2:1, 4-8
Gospel: Luke 1:46-56

During Mary’s time, women (like children) were not counted as
individuals of society. A woman was recognized only in terms of her
relationship with her father, husband or son. When the angel
announced to Mary that she was to bear the Messiah, she promptly
said yes, even when she knew she was in danger of being
misunderstood as a woman who got pregnant out of wedlock, a
situation that could justify death by stoning. She was full of faith
that God would protect her and keep her from society’s harsh
judgment. Even to Joseph, she did not volunteer any explanation. She
knew in her heart that God would do the explaining.

God’s choice of Mary to become the mother of the Messiah gave her so
much joy that during her visitation to her cousin Elizabeth, she
sang praises to God. She knew she was among the lowly in human
society, but God lifted her up so high among the rest of all
humankind. This gave her strength to face whatever sufferings might
lie ahead as consequences of her choice to become the mother of
Jesus. She expressed God’s greatness; she felt blessed to be the
chosen one.

This speaks also of how God respects man’s freedom of choice. God,
in all His splendor and glory, respects man’s freedom to choose his
own destiny. He wanted man, through Mary, to become active in the
salvation of mankind. It’s wonderful to think that God gave men his
importance, despite his sinfulness. God asked, and Mary said yes,
and the world was never the same again.

How do we connect this “fiat” to our daily living? Day after day, we
also make many choices, big and small. Choices that we think will
affect only our family, or ourselves but choices that can also
affect the world without our knowing it. It is therefore very
helpful to pray to the Holy Spirit to guide us when we make the
choices that would reveal God’s will.

“Lord Jesus, help me to earnestly seek you with humility and
confidence. Increase my faith in your promises, strengthen within me
the hope of heaven and eternal life, and set my heart on fire with
love for you and your kingdom. May I always praise and magnify your
greatness and mercy.”