Holy Mary, Mother of Creation, bless us that we may experience God as Love
in praise of all creatures, in love of all of creation. Amen.
Father Michael Adams - www.livingrosaries.org
- Liberating Mary...
are all familiar with the story of the Annunciation in Luke's Gospel.
We all know that Gabriel appeared to Mary,
asked Her to be the Mother
of the Son of God
and She said yes.
But what is also important is what did NOT happen:
did not tell Gabriel that She could not make that decision because She
was a young woman who had no right to make decisions about Her future.
did not tell Gabriel that She would have to check
with Her father, the
temple leaders and/or Joseph
and let him know if the men had given
did not tell Gabriel that he, himself, would have to go ask
the temple leaders and/or Joseph
for their permission for Her to do
did not send Gabriel
to Mary's father, the temple leaders and/or Joseph
to ask them to allow Mary to be a part of God's plan
to bring a Savior
into the world.
Matthew's Gospel narrative does have an Angel appearing to Joseph in a
dream to reassure him of Mary's faithfulness and fidelity after he
discovers Mary is pregnant,
but NOT to get his permission.
God sent Gabriel to Mary. Gabriel asked a question.
The angel did not
merely inform Mary
that She was going to be the Mother of the Savior.
God did not impose anything on Mary.
God asked Mary to join with Him
bring salvation into the world by giving birth to the Savior,
to a Son
that would be both God's and Her Child.
For many centuries, Mary's YES
has been used to subordinate and subjugate women.
She became the epitome
of the PERFECT WOMAN, WIFE and MOTHER
because She was portrayed
as meek, passive, obedient, quiet
and clearly knew Her place.
And that place was ever in the background
and never in the foreground.
is why some women cannot identify with Mary
and have no real concept of
why they should even care about Her
or look to Her as a role model.
would ever want to model a meek, passive woman
who was content to
simply let things be done to Her?
I certainly would not
and I cannot
imagine anyone who really would.
But that is the picture, the imprint,
the patriarchal Church and patriarchal society has painted of Mary
continually holds up as the ideal to which all women must aspire.
must be meek, passive, obedient and quiet like Mary.
That is their role
and their place.
Those women who have a devotion to Mary are seen, at best,
as being complacent in the subjugation and subservient status of women.
At worst, they are seen as being willing participants
in refusing women equal status in both the Church and society.
patriarchal Church had a problem with defining the role
- of women in
both the Church and society. They could easily use Eve to demonstrate
why women could not be trusted, lacked judgment and were weak. After
all, Eve, not Adam, was the one who was tempted and ultimately gave
into that temptation
- and then coaxed Adam into also eating the apple.
what about Mary?
As the Church sought to find a way to honor
position as Mother of the Savior,
they had to do so without changing
the second-class status of women. They accomplished this by creating a
Mary who was not just
perfect and sinless, but beyond perfect.
a role model who could never really be a role model
not simply because
we are all imperfect,
but because that image was never real.
real Mary stood alone with an Angel,
thought about the question
made a decision on Her own.
The real Mary faced the consequences
decision at a time
when She could have been
put to death for being
The real Mary raised a Son
whom She loved beyond all measure
and had to say goodbye to much sooner
than She wanted.
time has come to liberate Mary, to set Her free,
to paint a new and
more realistic image of this Woman who,
with tremendous courage and
faith, said YES to God.
In doing so, we will also further liberate women.
the real Mary and echo Her "YES"
with the courage She did.
That is what
we should strive to emulate...
the courage, the faith, the trust,
the unattainable perfection.
Sister Pat, FMT - April 2008
|Sister Pat, FMT|