A blessed and happy new year to all Bondings 2.0 readers!
A new year brings the hope of new possibilities and new ways of thinking. Perhaps that is one reason why the Roman Catholic Church has designated this day as the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. It was Mary’s openness to new possibilities that permitted God to break into our world through the person of Jesus and the lessons and examples His life offer us.
In Following in the Footsteps of Jesus, José Pagola has the following to say about Mary, based on the praises of God which she sang in the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55):
“Mary begins by proclaiming the greatness of God: ‘My spirit rejoices in God my Savior, who has been mindful of the humble and lowly.’ God is bountiful to the lowly. Mary praises God with the same joy with which Jesus [did], because he has hidden himself from the ‘wise and learned’ and has revealed himself to the ‘lowly.’ The faith of Mary in the God of the ‘lowly’ helps us resonate with the mind and heart of Jesus.
“Mary proclaims the “might” of God because through it ‘his mercy reaches from age to age.’ God places his might at the service of compassion. [God’s] mercy reaches all generations. Jesus preaches the same message: God is merciful to all. So he says to his disciples of every age: ‘Be merciful as God is merciful.’ With the heart of a mother, Mary understands, as no one else does, the tenderness of a God who is a Father and a Mother. From the depths of her experience, she leads us to the heart of the message of Jesus: God is compassionate love.
“Mary also proclaims the God of the poor for ‘he has brought down the rulers from their thrones, leaving them without power to oppress; on the contrary, he has ‘lifted up the lowly,’ so that they may regain their dignity. From the rich, he reclaims what they have stolen from the poor and sends them away empty; the hungry he fills with good things so, they can enjoy a more dignified life. Jesus, too, announced the same: ‘The last shall be first.’ Mary leads us to welcome the Good News of Jesus: God is the God of the poor.”
As those of us who pray and work for LGBT equality in church and society begin a new calendar year, let’s renew ourselves in the spirit of Mary. Let us keep in mind that though at times we feel lowly and powerless, that these are the times when we can most be in touch with God. Let us remember that though we may not feel “mighty,” our strength should come from our compassion, and our willingness to show compassionate mercy to all. Let us not forget that Mary had great trust in the promise that God would lift up all who are marginalized and oppressed and restore their dignity to them.
If we keep Mary as our model of faith in the compassionate love of the God for the lowly, poor, powerless, and marginalized, who knows what new wonders we can witness in 2018?
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry