Mary is honoured because she was the Mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God — and because the Gospels testify that she was a virgin when she conceived and gave him birth. Their witness to such a wonder has generated much of the devotion that is paid to her. But it is not the only reason, for the evangelists also portray her as the archetype of all the people of God and the person who leads their praises of the Almighty.

In Luke’s account of the Annunciation, Mary was perplexed by the meaning of God’s word to her and yet chose to accept the wondrous service which it ordained her to accomplish. After the birth of her son, Mary continued to be puzzled whenever she met with a further sign of his divine origin or with hints of what he was meant to do. But she was always patient in her puzzlement; in Luke’s words, “Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” The fruit of her pondering may be reflected in the fact that all the evangelists say that she followed her son from Galilee to Jerusalem and stood with the small company of women who witnessed his crucifixion. The Book of Acts adds that, after the resurrection, she shared in the disciples’ community of prayer and watched with them for the corning of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

An ancient tradition testifies that Mary was taken up in glory as soon as she died, and Christian devotion has never begrudged her the place of highest honour in the presence of God. It has delighted in the conviction that she who responded to God’s perplexing call with praise must already enjoy the reward of faith — and that she who gave the Son of God his human life has received all the fullness of the eternal life which he was born to give.


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Credit: Elena Uskova