She Pondered These Things in Her Heart (see Lk 2:19)
The Regal Grace of Mary – Sophie Lippiatt –
It’s easy to slip into the trap of thinking of Mary as a dull, passive woman completely devoid of personality. It’s so hard to imagine a truly sinless human being that we clutch at the nearest thing we can find in the midst of our human mess: the holier-than-thou person who plays the martyr whilst secretly enjoying attention and control, or the downtrodden women repressing her every desire and need. The trouble is, seeing Mary this way doesn’t help me much with my own maternal vocation.
Yet think of the most holy people you know – think of yourself in your best moments – and you’ll soon realise that being in alignment with God’s will makes you more interesting and dynamic, not less. Being born without original sin would make her more free, more powerful, not less. Her Fiat was an active, passionate yes, not a half-hearted or timid I suppose so. I believe – and yes, I’m using my imagination here – that she would have looked the angel in the eyes when she responded to God’s call.
Seeing Mary as an active participant in God’s divine plan changes everything. This Mary invites us to crush the serpent’s head with her, embracing the unique path God has designed for us. She shows us that the humour, the interests, the needs and desires God has placed in our hearts have their place on our journey towards him. That we don’t need to become less: in fact, we’re being called to more. Our Lady Queen of Heaven shows us that holiness isn’t boring or disengaged. It’s regal, and active.
Sophie Lippiatt is a writer living on the edge of the moor in the South-West of England with her husband and two children. (© Magnificat: August 2021)