The way of Mary, Our Lady, Mother of God
Mary’s life was one of many journeys – some were hard and physical, whilst others were internal, spiritual voyages. As a young girl she was called from the obscurity of a hidden village to a role and future she could barely imagine, but embraced wholeheartedly. When the young virgin Mary agreed to become the mother of Christ, it changed the world forever.
Her first journey is one to bring comfort and support to another woman, her cousin Elizabeth, an event we now celebrate as The Visitation. She then travels far from home with her husband Joseph, and gives birth in the lowliest of circumastances, far from home. In Luke 2:19, we read about how she keeps the events of the birth of her child 'in her heart and thought about them often'. So begins an inner journey of pondering and questioning.
Forced to flee by political intrigue, she lives for some time as a refugee in Egypt, before returning home to Nazareth when Jesus was a child.
Her life as a mother is turned upside down by the mission of her son. It is Mary who asks Jesus to perform the mircale of turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana. She tells the servants ‘do whatever he tells you.’
Next we find her on the road once more, following her son in his Passion. Mary stands at the foot of Jesus’ cross as he dies, and cradles his body before he is taken to the tomb.
Her final journey is to become the adoptive mother of John, and so of the budding Christian community. It is likely that she found a home with John in Ephesus, in modern Turkey, where she was to act as an anchor between the human family of Jesus and the international Christian family.
Her final voyage comes when she passes over, body and soul, to the embrace of her son in Heaven. It was on the Feast Day of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, that Bishop Pompellier dedicated Aotearoa New Zealand as a Shrine to Mary, Mother of God, Assumed into Heaven.
Like so many women of faith, Mary’s life was marked by dramatic change, many difficult journeys and a call to spiritual leadership in her community.
Mary of the Way, pray for us all.
Photo: Statute of Mary outside the Church of St Mary in Motuti.