Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.” “Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
“In her heart.” This phrase appears three times in the New Testament. The first two are in chapter 2 of Luke’s Gospel. The last time is Revelation 18:7. The context of the third is interesting as it makes a striking contrast to the first two.
“Fallen, is Babylon the great…To the measure of her boasting and depravity repay her in torment and grief; for she said in her heart, ‘I sit enthroned as queen; I am no widow, and I will never know grief.” Chapter 12 adds of this antithesis of Babylonian queen, “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.…. The dragon became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus.”
Who is this queen? The Babylonian queen sits on a throne as queen. She brags how she is no widow and knows no grief. She is rich with the wealth of the world.
Compare this with the second queen. She clothes herself with the son, and has the moon as a footstool. She has twelve stars, the twelve apostles. She gives birth to one child who is to rule all the nations. This woman is Mary. She suffers greatly in childbirth and in the death of this son. She is a widow, Joseph now being gone. She is in every way the opposite of the Babylonian queen. Mary has none of the wealth of this world.
Even though Mary only has one child, Jesus, the last verse speaks of all of her offspring, those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus. If we are going to heaven, if we are going to be her children, we must keep all of God’s commandments, and bear witness to Jesus. How does Mary understand these commandments? Back in chapter 1 of Luke’s Gospel, she gives Elizabeth the Magnificat
In the Our Father, we pray that things be done on earth as they are in heaven. In Hebrew, prayers is a reflective verb. It is not sitting down and asking God for things. It is meditating upon how God as the rest of us are going to do his will, together. Mary starts with praise of God, Jesus as Jesus does in his prayer and as we should in our prayers. Then she relates the reason for praise.
We look to God because he shows the strength of his arm. We should be the strength of his arm. We should disperse the arrogant of mind and heart. We should throw down rulers from their thrones when they do not life up the lowly. We should lift up the lowly. We should fill the lowly with nobility. Everyone has the image of God. We should help the lowly find this image, and become a light reflector, helping them show that nobility to the world. We should show the rich how the king is naked, as the child’s story goes. The last appeal is to tradition. Judaism and America has tradition. This gives cause to ponder a third queen:
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. “Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she with silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Do we do this? Do we put aside pomp? Do we bring in the immigrant seeking refuge from was and famine in his own land? Do we look for the huddled masses yearning for freedom, and bring them here? Do we look for those tossed by the tempests of life? Do we do what it takes to end their suffering? Is this our tradition? If not, is the Blessed Virgin really our mother? Watch the consequences of the choice.