01 June 2014

Woman who blessed Mary: Ave Maria

Luke 11:27-28

Hail Mary,
full of grace -
blessed are you
among women.
Blessed is your womb
that bore our Messiah,
blessed your breasts
that nursed the Saviour of souls -
blessed are you
among women.

Hail Mary,
full of grace -
I want to be like you,
but I can't.
Only one womb
could bear our Messiah,
only you were chosen
to nurse the Saviour of souls -
from afar I can admire
and wish it had been me -
blessed are you -
not me.

blessed is the womb that bore you,
and the breasts that nursed you!
Blessed is the woman
who can call herself your mother.
among women.

- But you say: no.
Blessed are those
who hear the word of God
and obey it.

Hail Mary,
full of grace -
blessed are you
and blessed am I,
for what makes you great
is not your womb,
though it bore the Messiah,
nor that He suckled at your breast.
No, blessed
are your ears that heard
the uncomfortable call of God,
and your heart that submitted
in obedience to His will.
And blessed are all women
who do the same
and follow your footsteps
as you follow the Lord. 


[1. June 2014]

A woman came up to Jesus and called out a blessing on Mary - Jesus' reply was: "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it." As I understand it, this means: instead of just admiring Mary as someone "unreachable", who through God's grace became something none of us can ever be, we should follow her example and do as she did. Only Mary could be Jesus' mother, but we can all learn from her obedience to God and acceptance of a calling that can't have been easy, and that brought her not only joys but lots of pain. I find it very interesting how this little exchange in Lk 11 is so similar to what Jesus said in Mt 7 about how we should not just say "Lord, Lord" but do the will of God. Personally I find that if we admire Mary, it should not be as a wonderful saint with quasi-goddess status, but as an example that, with God's help, we can and should emulate.

P.S.: Dear protestant friends: I'm not turning catholic - the Ave Maria just fit the poem (besides, the Reformers still used the Ave Maria and most of it actually is biblical, based on Gabriel's greeting. The ending part which we protestants usually stumble over I left out). This is not meant to promote any "Mary-worship", on the contrary the focus I mean to make (and believe I have made; hopefully it's clear enough) is that Jesus wants us to hear and obey God's word, to do His will. Mary can be our example in that.

P.P.S.: In case anyone is bothered by the profusion of breasts in this poem: sorry, it's in the Bible. :P

Picture is "The Madonna of the Roses" by William-Adophe Bouguereau.

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