Perhaps the most important person in the story of Advent is Mary. Even though the Bible does not state her age, if history and traditions are to be believed then she must have been between the ages of 12 to 14. Incredible isn’t it? In those times, girls were betrothed when they were very young and once they started to menstruate, they were given away in marriage. She was already betrothed to be married off to Joseph. These days we would be aghast at the thought of a young teenage girl given away in marriage – let alone bearing a child. But in those days it was common practice.
So who was this young remarkable woman and why was she chosen above all others? Why did she allow herself to become the mother of God, perhaps the greatest responsibility any human being had ever been given? Was she not afraid of being ostracized and ridiculed?
She knew that accepting the pregnancy would cause turmoil and pain to her and her loved ones. At the announcement that she would give birth to “The Son of the Most High”, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary responded with obedience and faith, certain that “with God nothing is impossible.” She accepted God’s plan for her life saying, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word”. Thus, having given her consent to God’s word, Mary became the mother of Jesus. Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly, without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself to the work of her Son. She did so in order to serve the mystery of redemption with Him and dependent on Him, by God’s grace.
As St. Irenaeus says, “Being obedient, she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.” That is why many of our early Church Fathers gladly assert: “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience. What Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.” Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary “Mother of the Living” and frequently claim “Death through Eve, life through Mary.”
So as we proceed with our Advent journey, let us pause and reflect on this gentle and discreet woman who was chosen to bring our Saviour into this world. Let this humble maiden teach us to say, “Let it be done to me according to your word.”
‘O with what joy we sing of Mary, a woman of great love. Whose openness and loving kindness, gave birth to God’s own Son. Mary, so gentle and discreet, be with us as we pray, to know the whisper of his presence, the wonder of His love!’
HAPPY ADVENT GREETINGS!