While he was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Ralph Waldo Emerson, in an attempt to encourage and dignify individuality, once said, “Imitation is suicide.” While his idea isn’t part of the Gospel message of Christ, the quote still stands. If you wish to cast aside your sinful self and become something much greater in the Kingdom, then imitation of Mary is a sure bet.
In Luke’s Gospel, Mary is undisputedly held in high regard. Yet Luke recognizes that the Kingdom will not be comprised of blood related tribes relying on Jewish ancestry. Rather, to claim familial closeness to Christ, one must embrace the word of God wholeheartedly, obeying the Father’s wishes as Mary had. The words that signal Mary’s motherhood, the very signal of her blessedness already present in her, are words expressing her denying any selfish and willful ambition: “Let it be done to me according to thy word.”
These words risked a death by stoning for Mary. These words have meant Christian martyrdom throughout the centuries. Just as real, these words uttered by countless Christians have meant the giving up of the selfish and sinful life for the rebirth into a new and blessed existence as children of God, brothers and sisters of and in Christ Jesus.
—Fr. John Brown, S.J.
Lord, we are so grateful that your Mother is our Mother. We pray that in our various relationships, Mary’s love, faith, and truth be our compass as we navigate relationships at home, work, and in our social life. We turn to your Mother for comfort and endurance when we accompany our loved ones in their suffering. And we draw close to Mary for courage to direct our lives according to your will.
Let us imitate Mary, hearing the word of God and observing it: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team