- Mary’s indispensable role in Christian history is as a woman who is at the heart of salvation’s story, reflected in her title “God-bearer” (Theotokos). In the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), Mary proclaims a radical message of social justice where the lowly are lifted up and the powerful are brought down. Mary initiates Jesus’ ministry at the Wedding of Cana (John 2:1-12) and remains with Jesus till the very end: his death and burial (John 19:25). She is also present at Pentecost, the birth of the church. As an LGBTQ person or ally, how do these Marian images of power, leadership, courage and passion impress you? In a world where women are often exiled, even from the LGBTQ community, how does the image of Mary empower you?
- Mary’s, “How can this be, since I have never been with a man?” illustrates the definition of theology as “faith seeking understanding.” Mary asks the angel Gabriel how she might come to understand what it is she believes. Her active love for God seeks a deeper knowledge of God. As an LGBTQ person or ally, what parts of your faith seek understanding? What would you like to understand better about your faith and the church community? Where does your conscience take you when you converse privately with God?
- With the strong emphasis on birth and the celebration of family during the seasons of Advent and Christmas, how can the global LGBTQ family feel connected to the spirit of the season when many in the community may not have access to marriage, love, companionship, and family?
- From her flight into Egypt, to protect her unborn son from the edict of Herod (Matthew 2:13), to her presence at the foot of the Cross (John 19:25), Mary has always situated herself next to the historical Jesus. How can we expand and develop this mother/son narrative, so that it may become the bedrock of a foundation wherein families, and especially parents, are united with their LGBTQ children, are there to support them and commit themselves to speak up as advocates for their children?
- Why do apparitions of Mary (Our Lady of Guadalupe, Fatima, Lourdes, and others) have such cultural staying power? How would you visualize a Marian apparition for the LGBTQ/ally community?
“The Rosary Sonatas” by Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (c. 1676), based on events in the life of Mary, are among the most alluring, meditative, and beautiful compositions ever written for the violin.
As you listen to “The Annunciation,” the first of 15 sonatas, allow for the gorgeous drama of Biber’s music to transport you into that spiritually charged space between the hands of the angel Gabriel and Mary. Once there, enjoy a front row seat in the very theatre of the Incarnation.