Mary’s Blind Faith
Mary, the mother of Jesus, has always played a prominent role in my life. My parents actually gave me the Spanish derivative of her name as my middle name, Maria. And two of the universities that have played the biggest role in developing both my intellectual and spiritual character, the University of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s University School of Law, were both named in honor of Mary. For those who don’t know any better, that isn’t Knute Rockne or even Jesus on top of Notre Dame’s Golden Dome. It’s Mary. And at both St. Mary’s and at Notre Dame, the colors of those schools are Blue and Gold, signifying the purity and royalty, of Mary.
I think of Mary most at Christmas and on Good Friday. When she was a teenager, she was engaged to Joseph when the Angel Gabriel appeared and told her she would bear God’s own son. Think about it. Your entire life is all planned out and then everything get’s changed on the drop of a dime. Having babies out of wedlock back in those days could cause a woman to be dragged out into the public square and be stoned. Yet, her faith was so strong she could only reply, “Let it be done to me.”
Some 33 years later she was an eyewitness to the killing of that very son. How could it all possibly have that kind of ending? But even then she trusted the supremacy of God. One of the greatest memories of my wonder years growing up in Europe was having the opportunity to view Michelangelo’s depiction of the Pietà at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. I was deeply moved by this depiction of Mary when I was a teenager that I just stared at it for a prolonged period of time. We know the story of the crucifixion. Michelangelo somehow captured the sorrow, surrender and the peace of Mary in that statue.
I try to reflect on Mary’s “yes” whenever life has thrown me curve balls. She had the ultimate blind faith when it came to trusting God, even when it didn’t make sense to her at all. There have been times in my life when I thought I had it all mapped out and everything got turned upside down on the drop of a dime. But whenever I reflect on Mary, I can only come back to, “I don’t understand this, but I’m gonna trust you wherever this journey takes me.” I’ve been walking in blind faith now for six straight years. Still don’t know where the road is leading. But each day, my Ave Maria, has become just a simple, “Yes.”
One of the precious memories I have as a freshman at Notre Dame was being a member of the liturgical choir and being selected as one of the cantors at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. However, the music director had a special request, he asked if I would cantor Vespers, the evening prayer service, because it was always done by candlelight and acapella. It truly is a moving and powerful service at Notre Dame. So every Sunday evening when I was 18, I’d end that service with the singing of ”Magnificat,” based on the Song of Mary found in Luke 1:46-55:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”
In the hustle and bustle of this holiday season, I hope you will take time to remember the true reason for the season. It’s not about Christmas trees, presents or Santa Claus. Christmas is a time to remember that there was a time when our world was so messed up and without hope that God had to send us His own son so that we could be reconciled back to Him. And it came to pass because it was foretold by the prophets and because a girl named Mary had the blind faith, favor and obedience to say, “Yes!”