Saturday, December 24, 2005

Mary Holy Silence & Wonder

The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."..."Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." ....So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart."

Mary's silence lay not in timidity but rather through wisdom, for what words could Mary have said to explain the enormity of God's Gift to His children. That through her, God became man, with both human and divine nature, and how much God had given to her as He had filled her with Grace.

This most Holy Mother had much to ponder on, in that God chose to become less to save all, how can anyone explain the Way's of God? The Love of the Father is over and above man's ability to reason, so holy silence speaks in and of itself.

God chose to reveal this most wondrous of Miracles to the people who mattered little, in the society of that day. These people were not rich nor did they carry much influence in society, yet it is to these social outcasts that the Angels appeared to bring the Good News.

The shepherds were treated as the lowliest of people; they were seen by many as social misfits who eked out a living by caring for their livestock, even to sleeping with them. One can imagine their awe at the seeing the resplendent and tranquil beauty of Mary and admire the admirable way Joseph protected and shielded both Mary and the baby Jesus. As these humble shepherds kneeled before the Promised Messiah, one can imagine their hearts were near bursting at whom they had come to pay homage.

Mary was silent for there is no explanation as to why God would make Himself vulnerable and suffer the indignities of all men for the sake of Love. The Son of the Most High, was born in a stable a most humble abode, there was no royal crown to wear nor servants to tend his every need. Yet our Lord chose to be one among His people, and to be born of humble, meek and virtuous parents. Mary who is full of Grace, in that sin could bear no part in the birth of the Saviour who had been born to overcome the sting of death and bring Salvation so all men can be saved.

So Mary due to her own humble nature, was chosen by God from the beginning and therefore was 'full of Grace' for within her there could be NO sin, in that God could not live in a soul that had the stain of original sin, which was incurred by the rebellious act of Adam and Eve. So within her most pure soul and virginal womb God was enfolded in human flesh with both human and divine nature. And Mary herself is The Immaculate Conception, which allowed God through the Incarnation to be born of a Virgin.

We also have in Joseph true father to Jesus, a most holy spouse whose virtues compliments that of Mary, in that they were humble, meek, and charitable and trusted in God with full confidence. It was to Joseph that the Angels would appear in that God recognised Joseph as head of the home and ennobled the role of father which Joseph truly was.

It is the little one's that witness God's splendour, for God did not come to save the high and mighty He came to give hope to the lowly and the outcasts. It is the humble in spirit who see God and it is to them that our Heavenly Father reaches out.

The birth of our Lord and Saviour in this humble abode, teaches us that our True Wealth lay in the Heavenly Kingdom, and it is for those who obey His Word that the Promise of Heaven awaits...

God through Mary became man, what a wondrous event to behold, or have we lost that sense of Awe?

The true meaning of Christmas is not making sure we give the right present, or receive presents, it is acknowledging that what we have was never ours to begin with....give of yourselves, be love for one another…that is Christ in action.


Peace of Christ to you.

Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Mary and Joseph A Perfect Union

Mary and Joseph had a unique quality that meant they were made for each other, for both loved God and placed Him at the centre of their lives. This meant that their daily lives revolved around God and not their whims. They could both discern the Will of God through their own inner souls and so they lived out God's Will with perfection, they never questioned God's Good order but with simplicity of trust and confidence they obeyed it.

Even when the Archangel Gabriel shared with Mary the Good news, Mary did not question God reasons but in her purity she inquired how this could happen to her when she knew no man. Then upon understanding Mary accepted God's Will that indeed it can be done, and so it was and Mary through the Mystery of Mysteries, became the Mother of God. For the Incarnation was not a creation of a new life, but the enclosure in human flesh of the Life that gives Life to all, through the Son of God who had both human and Divine nature.

Joseph too had his own questions and upon receiving his answers he too from a filial love and devotion to Almighty God accepted his place at Mary's side to be a good husband and a true father to, their son Jesus. Both Mary and Joseph were obedient to God, even if at times they did not fully comprehend the whys and wherefore's they simply trusted in God's Wisdom, and that sufficed for them.

This did not mean that they did not have their own concerns and difficulties to overcome as I am sure that times do not change and people can be very quick to judge, wrongly! But this Holy couple paid no heed to any 'whispers' that may have been gathering in their wider community, but instead with silence, they obeyed God's Will as their hearts and souls were pure.

It is this aspect of complete 'oneness' that both Mary and Joseph shared that makes them unique and sublime; they took God at His Word with full knowledge that God would fulfill it in His time. But God also acknowledged Joseph's role in the upbringing of Jesus and that it was Joseph who was the head of their household, but this did not negate Mary in the least bit. It simply ennobled the family unit as God created it to be, with the man as head of the home and the wife as his helpmate and support.

This does not denigrate either couple, but simply compliments the exquisite differences that made this Holy Union so blessed, in that their love did not revolve around themselves but was centred in doing the Will of the Father. This then generated mutual respect, devotion and love for God and for each other, as they both lived a chaste life of fulfilling the role that God had willed for them.

Through this Holy couple we can see how much God esteems the family unit and it is also through Mary and Joseph we glimpse how all marriages should reflect that displayed by this most devout union. For a couple that is totally committed to God are also totally committed to each other.

The union of Joseph and Mary is not only God's gift to them it is also God's Gift to each of us, as we look to their example of placing God as the foundation of their union and from that springs eternal happiness.

For Joseph and Mary had a role to fulfill in bringing forth and raising, their beloved son, Jesus, they did this with typical simplicity and practicality. As they lived their lives centred on their Faith and in their day to day lives; they lived the Divine Will with perfection, which would be the fulfillment of the Promise of God, through their son and Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.

"Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and brought redemption to his people. He has raised up a horn for our salvation within the house of David his servant, even as he promised through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old: salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, to show mercy to our fathers and to be mindful of his holy covenant and of the oath he swore to Abraham our father, and to grant us that, rescued from the hand of enemies, without fear we might worship him in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high will visit us to shine on those who sit in darkness and death's shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace."

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Mary and Joseph Living the Divine Will

And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."

When we look at the lives of Mary and Joseph many tend to think that what happened to them was singular and in a way it is, but it is also a lesson for each one of us to emulate.

For in the lives of both Mary and Joseph we see two ordinary people who with their whole hearts, minds and soul allowed God to work within them and transform them both to reflect the Divine. These two holy souls became so incorporated into the Divine Presence that when we study them we see the reflection of God in their lives, their words and their actions.

Mary as we know was chosen from the beginning to cooperate with God to help undo the sin of Adam and Eve, where our first parents were expelled from the Kingdom through sin. This would be achieved through Mary giving her Fiat to bear the Son of God, and Jesus Salvific death and Resurrection whereupon man regained his dignity and also his place in the Kingdom of God through the Sacrifice of both mother and Son. For our Lord had removed the sting of death and our Lady shows us how to live with perfect conformity to the Will of the Father, thus undoing the sin of Adam and Eve, which was caused by their rebellion.

But it is the holy lives of this couple, Joseph and Mary that show us that we too are called to give our fiats to God in order for the indwelling Spirit to transform us into living reflections of the Divine. Through Mary and Joseph we learn what it is to live the Divine Will without needing an explanation, as if God had to explain Himself to His creatures.

Joseph and Mary also through their actions teach us what true humility is and also to trust in God's Wisdom, even if it seems bizarre to do so. How many of us would follow a dream if we were told by an angel to rise and leave? Would we not consider it 'just a dream' and fall back to sleep.

Joseph was a great man, indeed a man after God's own heart and was also true father to Jesus and a noble and loving spouse to Mary his beloved wife. It is through the extraordinary humility and meekness of Joseph that shows all men what it is to be a man.

It is through the life of Joseph, Mary and the young baby Jesus we see how it should be for all of us. How family life should be centred around God and their Faith and not a longing to gain 'things', for what profit is there if one gains a mansion only to lose his/her family?

It is this holy couple who exemplify what family life can be if we live our Faith, honour and esteem one another and validate the other through respect and love. Joseph had immense respect and love for Mary and his beloved Mary esteemed and honoured her devout husband, as they both raised Jesus in the Traditions of their Faith. Each of them had their chores to do, Joseph needed to provide a living for his holy family, Mary needed to keep house, cook, clean and nurture her growing son Jesus. And the infant Jesus learnt from his parents to place God first, pray much, and to earn a living by working hard, by the example shown by his parents, Joseph and Mary.

The example provided by the Holy family is to simplify our lives and to enjoy our families, and first and foremost to place God and our Faith at the centre of our family unit. The lives of Joseph and Mary should not be out of the ordinary in that we should all be trying to emulate them within our own lives.

Until we truly embrace the shining examples given to us by this loving and Holy family then it is we who miss out, in that by rejecting the example given us by Joseph and Mary we also reject God's invitation to live His Divine Will.

For both Joseph and Mary lived the Divine Will, even if they at times did not fully comprehend the Way's of God, still they simply Trusted in God's Goodness, because God is Good.

It is through the first Christmas that we see how God dignifies the lowly and allowed the humble to see the face of God. Do we see the face of God in today’s society?

Peace of Christ to ALL
Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Mary Beloved of God

Mary, was chosen by God to help bring Salvation to all men, through the birth of her son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The most singular feature in this is that God loved Mary for who she was and not for what she would give Him. This is why understanding Mary's unique place in the Salvation of man is integral to the depth of our own Faith.

For our Heavenly Father so loves His children, that He would never contemplate 'using' one as pure nor as noble as Mary to simply bear His Son and then discard her, as if she was of no more use.

Mary's part in the Salvation of man is of the utmost importance for each of us, for through Mary, we also learn to live the Divine Will with perfection, as did Mary most Holy. It was never God's intention to consign Mary to the history books as if she had no more to offer in and of herself.

Through Mary we also glimpse the workings of the Divine, for it is God who ennobles man and it is also God who grants man his dignity. It would be anathema to our Heavenly Father to use a creature and then ignore the role played by one so Holy as Mary, as if her Fiat meant nothing.

God is a delicate and sensitive Father who Loves us with a depth that the human mind will never comprehend, if this is so, then how can so many disregard the role that Mary played in the Salvation of mankind, as if she were of little consequence?

Can any truly comprehend the Mystery of Mysteries that touched Mary, when she conceived the Son of God and upon giving birth remained eternally a virgin, yet also a mother with a mother’s heart?

When we ignore Mary we then deprive ourselves of the gift that our Heavenly Father gave us in the form of Mary who lived His Divine Will without blemish. For it is through Mary's love of God, that we too can glimpse what perfect love is and should be within each of our hearts towards the Triune Spirit.

It is Mary that teaches us true humility in that she drew no attention to herself but instead always points to her Son, who is also her God. Our Blessed Mother looked for no earthly titles in that God loved her for herself, what need would she have had for grand palaces or worldly titles?

Mary knew what was important in life and it was not in a gaining of things but in a giving of herself, an emptying of herself for love of all mankind. And through her Fiat, God became man with both Divine and human nature. But it is not only Jesus who loved us unto Death upon a Cross, but also our Blessed Mother, who loves each of us unto a sword pierces her very soul.

God chose Mary for who she was and loved her for herself, how can we not do the same?

Peace of Christ to ALL
Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Mary Mother for All Eternity

Mary was chosen by our Heavenly Father from the beginning of time to be the Mother of His beloved Son our Lord Jesus Christ. And even though Mary was chosen for this most august and singular mission, she still could have through her own free will, declined God's invitation to bear the Son of God, in human flesh.

And though Mary through God's Grace was Immaculate in her mother’s womb, God did not deprive Mary of her free will to choose her own course. But Mary through her own will and beauty of soul chose to give her 'fiat', so that through her Son all men may be saved.

But more than this is the obedient and docile nature of Mary, who obeyed God with uncommon courage and humility, even though at times she was not always knowing about the course of her Son's life, still she trusted God her Heavenly Father.

Mary is a beacon to all of us on how to live the Divine Will in our daily lives and how we accomplish this amalgamation of our will forged to the Divine Will. This is what sets Mary apart from all others and through her obedience and confidence in God's Promise we too gain a glimpse of God's most Perfect Nature.

If God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit chose Mary as their most perfect woman, who are we to question the Wisdom of God? For by choosing this most noble of souls, God shows each of us through Mary how to achieve this most perfect state of a soul united as one with the Divine Being.

For though Mary lived the Divine Will in her daily life, this did not make her a robot, and she lost none of her own individual uniqueness. God was simply able to work within her soul without any interruption, like a flowing river of pure water, there were no ripples of discontent nor pride to impede God's action in Mary's soul.

This teaches all of us that if we follow Mary's example, then God will also be able to incorporate and fuse our will with His Divine Will, which would make us children of the Living God. We would be light bearers of eternal Love, spreading peace and joy to all we meet. For this is how Mary lived, and why she is irreplaceable in God's plan of Salvation.

We like Mary, would become Co-redeemers, as we seek with all our hearts to pray to our Heavenly Father for the salvation of others and to also offer our sufferings to God in expiation of those who willingly refuse God's Love.

Through Mary we learn how to be obedient and how to live our lives in perfect unison with the Divine. For like her Son, Mary too is the perfect example of one who loved till it cost.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Mary a Woman of Substance

Even though not much is written in Scripture about Mary what is revealed is very telling, in that like her Son Jesus, she too lived to do the Will of the Father, and Mary did so with perfection.

It is the very silence of Mary that grabs one's attention, for if Mary had been quoted more often by the Apostles, would it have differed from what Jesus himself was teaching those around him?

When Mary says, "Do whatever he tells you", does this not express the entire concept and Messianic meaning of Jesus entire Salvific Mission? For upon hearing these words, what did the people gathered at the wedding do? They did exactly as Jesus told them to, and also exactly as Mary had instructed.

For the relationship between this Mother and Son was unique unto itself, never to be repeated, as God took human flesh in Mary's womb. This sealed the relationship between both Mother and Son, to undo the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve.

Through Mary's Fiat we have eternal life in her Son our Lord, and through Mary's obedience to God, we have the example of perfect conformity to the Will of the Father.

Mary's entire life was one of profound mystery through the Annunciation and of complete trust in God, even though at times the meaning of Jesus words remained hidden as Mary pondered them in her heart.

It is through Mary that we gain a greater insight in how to conform to the Will of God as she did, with total perfection. This would not have been easy for Mary, for like all Mothers she loved her Son dearly, and there must have been times when her heart would have been perturbed at the reception her Son received by others.

Mary's silence is a silence of substance, for why would Mary repeat her Son's every word, in that both Mother and Son were united and incorporated into the Divine Will. Mary in herself was not Divine, though God filled her spirit with Grace, but her Son Jesus, had both Divine and human nature.

It is Mary's silence that truly speaks volumes, in that she had no need to neither question her son nor query his actions, once his Mission had begun. For Mary knew her Son spoke the Word of eternal life, and she obeyed his every word not blindly but with complete filial trust and confidence in God, her Son.

Mary's entire life was spent in pointing and directing all attention to her Son, who had the words of eternal life. Her example to all who shared their life was to listen and obey with complete humility and docility the words her Son spoke.

The silence of Mary in Scripture is not because she had little to say, her silence lay in the fact that though Jesus was her Son, he was also God. Mary may have pondered many things in her heart but she never questioned God's love nor His Power to overcome evil.

And as Mary pondered in her heart in silence it was a silence of substance in the mystery of mysteries.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Mary Her Daily Life and Prayer

Mary's life would have been much like anyone else’s, in that she did not draw attention to herself, but simply got on with the job at hand. It would have been Mary and the women friends of Jesus who at times may have travelled ahead of Jesus and the disciples in order to provide a resting place for the tired men.

This meant a great deal of preparation; perhaps they also would have had a mule in order to carry some of their supplies. It meant a daily round of duties from sun rise to sun set, as they prepared meals, mended clothes and prepared a place of rest for her weary son and his disciples.

And upon reaching the place where they would spend the next few days Mary and the women most probably spent time at the nearest markets to buy such food as lentils, wheat, dates, olives, grapes, pomegranate's, onions etc as well as chickens, eggs, goats milk.

They then would have returned to make local unleavened bread by slapping the dough against a circular oven, in which they would then place the onions, lentils, pieces of meat perhaps with some goat cheese. Along with this after the main meal maybe some dates, almonds, honey, or watermelon would also have been served. Whatever was grown in season at that time.

The difference with Mary is that despite this workload, which was heavy indeed, in that there were no convenience as we enjoy today, Mary would have done all this without one single complaint, in that she had learnt to turn everything she did into a prayer. This provided a marvellous example to the women, whom journeyed with her and also the men in her spirit of gentleness, serenity and tranquillity. For like most things there would have been things that did not go right, days where accidents happened, all of this left Mary unflustered, as she simply took all these things the good and the bad equally from a Loving God.

Through all this activity and work Mary ennobles the most mundane tasks, and grants it the respect it deserves in that, everything we do must be done in a spirit of love and service to others, for that is the way Mary shows us.

Upon finishing the meals the women would have joined together in communal washing up. And I am sure with gentle humour and an equally gentle spirit, the women would have enjoyed this moment shared with Mary as they each worked uncomplaining in an environment of love and companionship.

After the evening meal and clean up was completed Mary and the rest of Jesus friends would have gathered around her son to listen to his stories, to learn from him, but also to enjoy moments of pleasant humour, before they retired for the night to pray to their Heavenly Father.

For both Mary and Jesus, lived lives of deep prayer, of a relationship with the Heavenly Father which went beyond the mere rituals of the Pharisees. And it is their example combined, which would be a great lesson for both disciples and female companions to emulate in their own lives.

But I am sure even in prayer, Mary's heart was not without its worries as she pondered in her heart the meaning of these precious words from her son and the prophecy of Simeon.

Peace of Christ to you ALL

Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Mary The Heart of A Mother

The life of Mary provides for us all the opportunity to understand women’s role within the family and community. For Mary had a Mothers heart and a Mothers love not just for her Son but also for his friends and followers.

It is through Mary's example that many of the women followers would have tried to emulate. They would have witnessed first hand how Mary incorporated prayer into every activity and that nothing was too small or too big for Mary who did all things with the utmost meekness and humility.

I am sure that Martha upon observing Mary and her motherly heart which was always available to any of her Sons friends, and the way she conducted her many chores and duties into a service of love based upon a combination of prayer and activity.

For Mary understood from the beginning that in all we do and in every activity we must remember to whom we serve and that is our Heavenly Father. Mary knew that true love is a life of service for the benefit of others and not oneself.

Though Mary had an exalted position as the Mother of Jesus, she never drew attention away from her son, but instead mediated between Jesus and his many friends, as she did at the wedding of Cana. This would have provided a wonderful example to the many women who followed Jesus in what is pleasing to our Heavenly Father, a life of service and meekness.

Even though there would have been moments of great discomfort, days of heat and dusty weather. This may have seemed never ending in a cycle of traveling between towns whilst following Jesus and his disciples. Mary was not one to complain, she simply did what needed to be done in a spirit of humble service irrespective of her own tiredness, for Mary placed others before herself.

Mary would also have provided a Mothers heart for the disciples to confide in and also to learn from, she would have provided not only physical comforts but also emotional comfort. For their must have been many times when the disciples were confused by the teachings of their teacher, Jesus, as he taught them that one had to become like little children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

For whilst the Jews were under terrible persecutions, many had expected the Promised Messiah to rain thunderbolts upon their Persecutors the Roman occupiers! So to many of the disciples what Jesus was teaching them would have been a shock to all their preconceived idea's.

Mary would have understood this confusion and I am sure in her gentle and motherly way she would have provided much needed wisdom to the disciples who were struggling with their inner conflicts and their doubts.

So even in the day of Jesus Ministry Mary’s role of Mediator was already begun, it began upon her Fiat. This would give Mary much to ponder on as she joined her Son in his Mission to save all man from the sting of death. For Mary was to become Mother of all for Eternity, but for now, Mary listened and encouraged her Sons disciples and followers to live lives of service and of deep prayer, as their journey continued.

Peace of Christ to you ALL
Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Heart of Mary

There must have been many times whilst her beloved son was embarking on his mission that Mary would have reflected on times gone past, when fond memories of their former home life would have intruded. As Mary lingered over her memories of summer evenings spent with Joseph and the young Jesus as they perhaps sat on their front step, singing songs of praise to God on High, praying and sharing their day’s events. These would have been precious moments for Mary, stored in her heart of hearts to be remembered with joy, and a touch of bitter sweetness.

These were times when Mary had her son all to herself, these were poignant reminisces and Mary treasured each moment. But for now Mary had to share her beloved son with the world as he strode forward to fulfil God's Salvific plan.

And even though Mary would have shared these beginnings of Jesus life with the Apostles and friends of Jesus, still there must have been moments that were her's alone to remember and rejoice over.

For over and above all, Mary's heart was that of a mother deeply devoted to her son, and also to those who travelled with him. Her spirit of hospitality would have touched all and embraced many, and her welcoming and gentle smile must have soothed many a sore body and feet as they travelled from place to place.

But there was more to Mary than just a sweet smile, for Mary was also a woman of substance and endurance, who never complained even through trials such as their journey to Bethlehem when Mary was heavy with child and their escape into Egypt. All these things brought no complaints, no anger or discouragement for running through the course of Mary's life was her deep and abiding love for God. All those who joined Jesus would have noted Mary's enduring silence when it came to any personal discomforts. The way Mary cared not only for her son but also his friends and followers, all would have found a place in Mary's heart, for Mary had become mother of all.

What would have shone through to all who joined Jesus was Mary's motherly tenderness not only towards her son but also towards his friends. With her gentleness and wisdom, her spirit of hospitality and her need for moments of solitary prayer, these were moments that many would have noted and also emulated.

I am sure that Mary would have had her own thoughts towards the individual Apostles, as in recognising Peter’s exuberant nature, his spontaneous gestures of courage mixed with insecurity. The gentle and thoughtful John, who was so close to her beloved Jesus, and provided much support for him and for herself, the questioning Thomas, who could never quite accept the Glory that stood before him, as Mary did without question, for she knew who Jesus IS! And the many others who walked with Jesus, Mary too would have taken them all into her motherly heart of hearts.

What tenderness she would have showered on Mary Magdalene, helping her to understand the depths of Jesus Merciful love. What an example Mary would have provided for all the women who had to prepare meeting places and meals towards the men folk, after their long and arduous journeys.

But Mary was also a woman of deep introspection and humility, and though she welcomed all of Jesus Apostles and friends, still she too would have heard the whispers gathering force against her son, even from one amidst them. This would have deeply concerned Mary for at the heart of Mary lay a mothers love for her beloved Son.

Peace of Christ to you ALL.

Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Mary and Jesus the Journey Continues

Mary's life of prayer was matched by her deep and abiding love for God with complete trust and confidence. Mary never questioned God but instead pondered all things in her heart.

Through witnessing her humble obedience, Jesus learned that without trust there can be no love. Mary loved God with a depth that only her Son witnessed throughout his life.

Therefore when Jesus said, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" This is not a disavowal of Mary, but, is indeed a testament to Mary's deep Faith and love in God. For Jesus saw from his infancy the great love and filial confidence that Mary displayed in her intense love for The Triune Spirit.

Also, Jesus understood that His Mother was the perfect example of following God and living her Faith, with humble obedience. So the above statement clarifies Mary's deep and abiding Faith in God, and her relationship through prayer with the Heavenly Father.

Jesus then continues, "Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother".

Once again this reiterates Mary's August position for who else obeyed God without fault than his beloved Mother.

Remember Zechariah doubted the Angel and therefore temporarily lost his speech because of his doubt.

Mary did not doubt, and it was in her innocence and purity, God found the perfect receptacle to hold within her womb, His Beloved Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Mary would have contemplated every word that Jesus spoke without questioning His right to do so, for she knew to whom she was listening but the Apostles and friends of Jesus did not.

There were times where the people cried in the street, as Jesus passed by "Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you". Jesus never once corrected them, for what they said was Holy Truth.

It is this example of humble love and an obedient spirit that would have provided the Apostles and followers of Jesus much hope. For even though their minds grasped that this was The Messiah, their hearts needed the reassuring presence of one who did not question who Jesus IS.

Though Mary was quiet, the intensity of her love for God would have been apparent to all who crossed their paths and so would her deep prayer life. In that in order to hear God one must listen first, ponder much, and ask for little towards self, and much towards others.

The women most especially would have followed Mary's example and alongside Mary they would have provided and supplied both Jesus and the Apostles with the necessities needed to continue their Mission.

But even though Mary would have kept much to herself, the shadow of what lay before her son would have intruded upon her thoughts, as she pondered this too in her heart of hearts.

Peace of Christ to you ALL
Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Mary Her Life of Prayer

Mary Leads in Prayer

Mary from the beginning was a woman who inherently embraced prayer as a way of life, it was not a ritual for her, but was the cornerstone of her life, for she nourished prayer as she had nourished her Son.

This would have been a part of their lives from the beginning, and it would have been as a family that they would have prayed together, Mary, her husband Joseph, and the young Jesus.

And even though Mary would have turned even her work into a prayer, still she knew the importance of a spirit of solitude when praying to our Heavenly Father, for one needs to have these solitary moments in order to be replenished. So Mary from the beginning would have needed to spend time alone with God, as did Jesus during his Ministry, perhaps he learned this at his Mothers knee.

This would also have shown a great example to all those who followed Jesus, for the prayer life of Jesus and Mary went beyond keeping the Law and instead focused who was at the centre of their lives, which was their Father in Heaven. So, through the example of them both many would have seen that neither Jesus nor Mary allowed themselves to be enchained by the Law, but neither did they break it. Instead they fulfilled it by making God the centre of their lives and existence.

So even thought this most Holy of families always observed the Law, they were not enslaved by it but instead fostered relationship over and above rituals, for even though the rituals of their Faith had its place it was not a substitute for a relationship with God. They understood that God does not seek outside observances, but instead He sought to be the centre of their lives, and indeed He was. For Mary understood perfectly that God does not need rituals to be enforced, but He calls all into relationship with Him, and through Jesus we see the face of God.

Jesus through observing Mary and Joseph would have also understood that God is to be at the centre of one's life, hence His need from the beginning to be alone with His Father in Heaven. Even unto staying in the Temple where his wisdom amazed and astonished all who listened to him, from one so young.

So through Jesus public Ministry the Apostles and all of those who followed Jesus would have observed the centrality of both Jesus and Mary's prayer life, and a growing understanding would have illuminated their minds as to the importance of combining prayer into all their activities.

This would have been a revolutionary concept to the Apostles and Jesus friends, who though they observed the Law, had little concept of a relationship with their Father in Heaven. Some may have even felt excluded from God's Presence because of the confinements of these Law's, which instead of freeing their spirits, instead burdened it with rituals and rites over relationship!

I am sure Mary shared many of her experiences with these friends of her beloved son, and also through her example, many also would have wondered at the level and depth of her prayer life and her love for God.

This would have led to these very same friends of Jesus to also long to have what Mary had in abundance, a deep and prayerful love for the Father. And through the examples of both Jesus and Mary these Apostles and followers would also foster their prayer life in a longing to be close to their Father in Heaven.

And though Mary nourished her prayer life, even if at times she did not always understand the Will of God, yet she was obedient to Him. For Mary understood that one must always trust in God, in the midst of life and also in the midst of confusion, for Mary also pondered the words spoken by Simeon,"and a sword shall pierce your own soul too."

Peace of Christ to you ALL
Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Jesus and Mary Their Journey

The beginning of Jesus Ministry did not mean that Mary's involvement lessened nor that she was cast aside, for Mary too was to play an integral part in her Son's Ministry.

It would have been Mary that provided a listening heart to his many friends and followers, as she welcomed them into her home and traveled with them as Jesus preached, taught, and healed the wounded and sick.

I am sure that Mary would have provided a keen insight into their home life to the Apostles, and shared her family joys and sorrows with them. But Mary also was a woman of quiet contemplation and of few words, so she would have listened to these friends of Jesus and provided comfort in their times of confusion and bewilderment.

Wherever they journeyed Mary and the women disciples would have provided care and comfort for not only Jesus but his friends and followers. This meant cooking traditional meals such as bread, the vegetables that were in season, fish, served with olives and goats cheese and meals such as Labaneh and other dishes, spiced with the herbs of the area.

Mary would have also provided a good example for the women followers of Jesus and they would have helped Mary in keeping what ever home they stayed in clean and tidy. They also would have helped Mary in the cooking; one can imagine the men gathered around Jesus listening to him as he spoke to them of the Kingdom of God, whilst Mary and the other women prepared the meals. But what Mary would have shown these women disciples of Jesus, is that though one may be busy at their tasks, still one listens to the voice of God, in a spirit of humble obedience, even in the midst of preparing and cleaning.

So though Mary occupied herself with the daily ritual of cooking, cleaning, knitting and darning the clothes of her Son and his friends, with the help of the other women, she would have incorporated prayer into every activity. This would have been a wonderful example for the other women to follow and is central to the Mission of Jesus, that women were not second class citizens but were an essential part to his Ministry!

But there also would have been occasions of humour and fun amidst the seriousness, and Mary would have shared stories of the infant Jesus and her beloved but deceased husband Joseph, as they conversed together in a spirit of fellowship.

And through the love that Jesus had for his mother, it would have also allowed the other Apostles to see the value which Jesus placed on the importance of women in his Ministry and for women in general.

One only has to look at the woman caught in the act of adultery, when the men were ready to stone her, it was Jesus who whilst writing in the sand asked the question of the mob, "if any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her". For Jesus did not break the Law of Moses but fulfilled it by recognising the inequality and injustice which would have been perpetrated against the woman in question! But neither did Jesus condone the womans act and told her to "go now and leave your life of sin".

So throughout Jesus Ministry, Mary too had her role, which was to provide an example of Holy obedience with true meekness of heart and soul, and to ennoble the role of women in the life of Jesus, and in what was to come.

Peace of Christ to you ALL
Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Mary Ponders All Things

Mary would have lived a life typical of others in her region, in that she too had housework to do, food to prepare and clothes to mend. The difference is that Mary united all she did with God acknowledging His Awesome Majesty; she is a woman of quiet contemplation, who pondered all things in her heart.

Even in the midst of confusion and with great anxiety when she finally found her Son Jesus in the Temple, she questioned how her Son could bring this trouble to both her and Joseph. And though Jesus explained to her why He had done this, Mary simply pondered the meaning of her son’s words in the depths of her heart.

There must have been many times when Mary leaned on her chaste spouse Joseph, to help her and also lead her in their most Holy of Marriages. For upon their union it was to Joseph as head of the house that the Angels appeared and instructed him to flee and when it was safe to return to their homeland. This tells us the order in which God provides for us all to follow, in that the man IS the head of the household and God dignified Joseph's role as head of this most Holy family.

So it truly must have brought great grief to Mary when she lost her beloved spouse, who had helped protect and provide for her and their son Jesus. So upon the death of Joseph, Mary would have relied deeply on her beloved Son Jesus, for comfort but also for company.

So upon the commencement of his Ministry, Jesus also would have brought many new people into Mary's life, for she was not just a follower but was instrumental in Jesus' Completion of His Mission. Mary would have made all those who Jesus called friends a part of her growing family. This also afforded an opportunity for Mary to show other women how to live their lives in perfect conformity to the Will of God.

For Mary's role in the Ministry of her Son was not a passive one, but one of strength through prayer. She laid the ground work of what true contemplation is, and was an example to all those around her of quiet submission, humility and meekness, whilst living a daily round of her regular duties.

Mary would have helped develop Jesus as he grew strong under the reassuring presence of Joseph and both would have inculcated the young Jesus with a love of the land and the varying seasons from which they lived. Their lives would have been the lives of simple country folk, yet their Faith sets them apart from other families. This would have provided Jesus with a great asset of knowing how men lived and what moved their hearts, and was probably the instigator in his parables when teaching the Disciples and all those who followed him.

But before Jesus could commence his Ministry, he as most mature adults do, left home where he met his cousin John in order to be baptized in the Jordan River. After this Jesus left to spend 40 days and nights in the desert, where he overcame the tempter.

This must have been a difficult and perhaps lonely time for Mary, as she was without her husband or her son, but it also would have provided her an opportunity to pray and prepare herself for what lay ahead.

Their lives must have been so ordinary and normal in that when Jesus returned to Nazareth the words that greeted him were, "Where did this man get all this?" they said when he spoke in their synagogue. "Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary?" Jesus was to be rejected in the very place that formed his childhood, never to return. This must have grieved Mary deeply, as I am sure many of those who had rejected her Son, were a part of her life. She would have formed friendships with many of them, only to see them reject her beloved Son, and even family members accuse Jesus of instability.

One can also imagine what Mary would have felt upon hearing of the arrest of her cousins son, John the Baptist, as she pondered this and many more things in her heart. No longer was Mary at the centre of the young Jesus' life, nor was she abandoned as her life unfolded as her son's Ministry began.

Peace of Christ to you ALL
Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Joseph and Mary A Holy Union

Joseph a Man Among Men

The Scriptures don’t reveal much about Joseph, but the little that is shown in Scripture is very telling. For it lets us know, immediately that not only was Joseph a good and kind man, but he was also obedient to God, in that Joseph never questioned the Angel that directed the path which he should take in order to protect the life of both Mary and Jesus.
We also know Joseph to be kind and compassionate when he recognised that Mary was with child, in full knowledge that he was not the father, Joseph bore no ill feelings towards Mary, though hurt and confused he must have been. So when he made the decision to quietly let Mary go, he did so to once again protect Mary from the authorities.
Of course we know the Angel appeared to Joseph and unlike Zechariah, Joseph did not question the Angels Divine intent, but simply trusted that this was Truth and took Mary as his espoused wife. Joseph truly is the shining example of a man who trusted God, but also a man in which God Himself placed much trust in, for God recognised Joseph’s humility and entrusted the protection and upbringing of His Beloved Son.
Scripture also reveals that Joseph was also was a devout man who from obedience maintained the Strictures of the Law, and took his family each year to Jerusalem for the Passover. So from this we know that Joseph was a man of great Faith, a man who trusted God implicitly, a good and Honourable man, but how did he live?
Joseph like Mary would have led an ordinary life within an extraordinary family. He was a very capable carpenter and one can imagine Joseph making furnishings and other necessities for their home life, as well as fulfilling any work obligations for his customers in that Joseph was not a wealthy man and had to provide a good living for his Holy family.
There would have been great difficulties, in that it was placed on Joseph to protect this most Holy of families, and also some hardships, in that whilst their son Jesus grew healthy and strong, many other fathers and mothers had lost their first sons by Herods cruel edict!
But Joseph was a man who kept his own counsel and gained his strength through prayer, for it was hard living in those days of heat, dust, insects and a multitude of discomforts, all of these conditions Joseph would have worked under, yet not once did he ever complain.
Both Mary and Joseph would have raised Jesus within their chaste and Holy marriage as a normal family, we know this by Scripture when Jesus went missing only for both parents to find Jesus in the Temple three days later. One can imagine the concern, fear and anxiety that both Mary and Joseph would have gone through, and the relief upon finding Him, when to the amazement of all who was listening to the young Jesus and the intensity of his Wisdom, as he questioned and listened to the Elders. And when upon finding their beloved son it was Mary who queried why her son had gone missing but not Joseph, who once again, maintained his own counsel.
These years before Jesus ministry were blessed ones for both parents, in that they would have shared jokes and stories, with the child Jesus sitting at their feet and learning from them both. Joseph would have shared the carpentry trade with the youthful Jesus, teaching him how to make furniture and other equipment needed to farm that harsh landscape. They were indeed a happy and holy family taking joy in each others company, living simplistic lives and at the centre of their lives were always their love for God and their Faith.
Joseph was not merely a representation of a father figure; he was in the true sense a most noble father to his son Jesus, protective of him, teaching him the Faith, instructing him on life issues and the vagaries of nature. Showing a filial and most Holy and Chaste love for his wife, Mary, all these things Joseph taught the young Jesus as any father would do.
So it must have brought true grief to both Mary and Jesus when this most Holy of men died. Unfortunately Scripture does not reveal when this took place but there is speculation that it was before Jesus Ministry as Joseph is not mentioned when Jesus began His Ministry. Joseph would have died with the two he loved most, surrounding his bed, his beloved and chaste wife Mary and his beloved son Jesus his Savior, one can imagine the peaceful passing of one so great in obedience and in spirit.
St. Joseph is the most perfect example of not only humble obedience but for all fathers who are raising their own families, for in Joseph and Mary we have a true guide as what constitutes a family. One who lived his Faith in total trust of God's Goodness, in providing an income for this most holy family and of instilling a strong Faith because the love for his Faith sprang from within.
Joseph and Mary truly are and lived the meaning of a Holy Union, let us all learn from this most Holy of Parents.
Peace of Christ to you ALL
Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Mary Her Life and Mission Unfolds

Upon the birth of her son, both Mary and Joseph would have followed the Jewish Law at the time, and had him circumcised, giving him the name Jesus. Once again following Jewish custom they would have taken the baby Jesus to have him consecrated to God. It was here that Simeon upon recognising the child’s mission, exclaimed with prophesying joy "You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected -- and a sword shall pierce your own soul, too -- so that the secrets of many hearts may be laid bare."
Joseph and Mary then returned to their home in Nazareth. It was when they had returned to their home that an Angel warned Joseph of imminent danger to the baby Jesus and to flee the area because of Herod’s decree. Joseph gathered Mary and the baby and they then journeyed to Egypt, it must have been a very uncomfortable journey in that Mary was still nursing Jesus, and both their hearts must have been heavy to leave the land of their birth.
It was in the safety of Egypt that Joseph and Mary raised the infant Jesus, teaching him the Truths of their Faith and love of God. Upon being told of the death of Herod by an Angel, Joseph and Mary returned to their beloved home land. Both parents would have lived a traditional life, Joseph as a carpenter was providing an income from which the family survived and Mary keeping their home clean and the preparation of foods. Mary would have cooked traditional meals using what ever vegetables were that particular season, she may even have kept a garden to supply their daily needs, in what was a harsh terrain. The meals would have consisted of leeks, onions, grapes, olives; they may have kept a goat in order to supply milk to make yogurt and cheese mixed with different herbs. As Mary cooked the meals one can imagine the smells emanating from her kitchen, of bread being baked, the different herbs used, and perhaps whilst preparing each dish, the infant Jesus would have been in proximity, as Mary lovingly prepared their meals.
Mary's days consisted of taking care of the needs of her family, which also included making and mending clothes worn by both Joseph and Jesus, and also her own. Like any woman, Mary would have kept a clean and spotless home; visitors would have been welcomed as stories were exchanged around hardy tables, chairs or mats made by Joseph.
But upon Mary's heart would have been the added burden of knowing how many Mothers lost their first born son when Herod commenced the 'Killing of the Innocents'. This must have grieved Mary deeply, as unlike her, many mothers did not know who Jesus is, and therefore many mothers must have wondered why their sons died and yet Mary's son did not.
As Mary an extraordinary woman, lived an ordinary life, her mission too was now unfolding.
Peace of Christ to you ALL
Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

An Extraordinary Woman Among Women

Mary was the only woman to have looked down upon our Lord, whilst she was nurturing the baby Jesus, holding him in her safe and loving Motherly arms, and again as her beloved Son and God was lifted down from the Cross, she held Him close to her as her own heart was pierced and her anguish as she rocked Him in her loving arms.
But let us reflect on her life as we journey with Mary Most Holy. There is the Tradition that Mary as a young girl spent years serving in The Temple, as she prayed like many others for the coming of the Messiah which would free her people from the tyranny and persecutions which faced them all. So when the Archangel Gabriel visited Mary with the astounding news that it would be she who would be the Mother of God, Mary gave her FIAT and most humbly accepted God's Will, in a spirit of obedience.
But this was also a troubling time for Mary as her espoused Joseph grappled with what he could see happening to her, it was obvious to him that Mary was with child, but how could this be for this most humble and honourable of men had not touched one so pure as Mary, yet he also recognised that Mary was most pure and chaste, he was in utmost confusion. Joseph also knew the Law and wished no harm to come to his beloved betrothed, Mary, so Joseph in deep anguish decided to divorce Mary quietly so as to protect her from harm. It was as he was making this agonising decision that an Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and told him of the 'Good news' that Mary had conceived a Son through The Holy Spirit and the Son should be named Jesus who would save people from their sins. Joseph was deeply humbled that he was to be entrusted with the day to day care of one so Holy as Mary and his Savior Jesus, this most righteous of men was also an obedient servant of God.
Whilst Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, who was also pregnant with her son, the baby within Elizabeths womb leapt within her upon recoginsing his Savior Jesus, and she greeted Mary with these words, "Blessed are you among women, and Blessed is the child you will bear"....Elizabeth was stunned that one so Holy as Mary would go to be with her, the cousins embraced each other, as Mary sang her Praise of God in the Magnificant, her soul rejoiced in God her Savior...Mary returned home 3 months later to an overjoyed and relieved Joseph her chaste spouse.
Elizabeth would name her child John even though noone in her family had used this name nor in Zechariah's family but under the Inspiration of God, both parents chose John as the name, a sign of what was to unfold....
As Mary and Joseph Prepared for the imminent birth of their son and Savior a decree was announced by Caesar Augustus, that a census would be taken, Joseph then made preparations to take a heavily pregnant Mary to Bethlehem, the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. This must have been a very uncomfortable journey for Mary, as Jesus birth was upon her, it also must have concerned Joseph who wished to provide the best he could to help Mary and protect her as much as possible in full trust that God would help him with what he needed. So both Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem......

Peace of Christ to you ALL
Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Mary..Life of Our Holy Mother

Mary Who Is She?
Mary was an ordinary woman but what happened to Mary was extraordinary, in that God chose her from the beginning of time to help restore that which was broken through Sin. By giving her FIAT to God, Mary opened the Door to Heaven for each of us, for it is through her that our Lord and Savior was born to save ALL mankind, she is in effect Co-Redeemer alongside her Son and Savior Jesus Christ.
But let us take a more intimate look at Mary's life and ponder as she did the many Mysteries that have unfolded like a tapestry of Divine Gold Thread, weaving a design of such Majesty that our limited intellect cannot grasp.

Many historians believe that Mary was born in Jerusalem, the daughter of Joachim and Ann, some also speculate that Mary was born in Nazareth, but where ever she was born, Mary would have lived a very traditional life, learning the arts of cooking, cleaning and the religious Laws of her day, and like everybody Mary would have spent many hours praying for the coming of the Promised Messiah.
In a land which is harsh, Mary like many others learned to depend on God to provide for their needs, as the daily struggle to live in such a stark landscape, would have been very challenging for many hence their deep religious fervor. Like any place there would have been family squabbles, neighborly disputes as everyone went about their daily tasks, many of the women of the region would gather at the well to collect water as well as discuss the days events with each other, it was essentially their meeting place.
And as always life was difficult made more so by the politics of the day and the persecutions which they all suffered under, in a land known for its conflicts with its enemies of neighboring borders. These persecutions merely made the people of Israel more fervent in their love of God and their following of the Law, this would have also included Mary, who must have seemed like an ordinary young woman, not much different from those around her.
As was the tradition in her day, Mary's parents Joachim and Ann, arranged a marriage between their daughter and Joseph the carpenter, and this is where Mary's path took a very different course than any other person. It would change Mary's life entirely and also the world. For it was soon after her engagement to Joseph that the Archangel Gabriel brought to Mary the 'Good News',as the Angel exclaimed, 'Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee...blessed art thou among women.' Mary was puzzled and deeply disturbed by these words and questioned the Archangel not out of doubt but from her purity of heart Mary said to the angel, "how can this come about, since I am a virgin?" The Archangel Gabriel then announced to her God's Will and Mary with utmost humility proclaimed the Greatness of God by proclaiming, "I am the handmaid of the Lord....let what you have said be done to me".
As we know Mary gave birth to The Promised Messiah who was named Jesus or Immanuel, and even though Mary is not mentioned a lot in the Bible, this does not mean we should disregard the impact she has had on the generations to come. For Mary is our most perfect example of womanhood, a wife and Mother who would have gone about her daily tasks of cleaning house, cooking, sewing, washing and nurturing the baby Jesus and to be a helpmate to Joseph her husband.
We need look no further than Mary Most Holy to define what it means to be a woman and a woman of immense Faith, who followed God's Will without always understanding the Whys of it, still in all humility and meekness Mary did the Will of The Father. For Mary did not seek glory for herself but to fulfill God's Mission through the Salvific Death and Resurrection of her most beloved Son our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whom she carried in her womb and as Our Lord was lifted down from The Cross, once again Mary Most Holy held her beloved Son and God in her arms.
More about Our Lady later.....

Peace of Christ to you ALL
Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

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