Mary remains an ever-present figure as we journey through the Gospels with the women who meet Jesus. These stories are the tales of very different women, yet the common thread is the one most powerfully illustrated by his own Mother: intimacy with Jesus calls out the very best of who we can be.
Sometimes darkness has its hour and there is nothing we can do to stop it. Sometimes the blind, wounded forces of jealousy, bitterness, violence, and sin cannot, for that moment, be stopped.
But, like Mary under the cross, we are asked to “stand” under them, not in passivity and weakness, but in strength, knowing that we can’t stop the crucifixion but we can help stop some of the hatred, anger, and bitterness that surround it.
And, in this way, we help take away the sins of the world and continue to bring Jesus’s saving death to the world.
–from Ronald Rolheiser, author of the book The Passion and the Cross
Nothing and no one can take us from the hands of Jesus, because nothing and no one can overcome his love. Jesus’s love is invincible. The evil one, the great enemy of God and of his creatures, attempts in many ways to take eternal life from us. But the evil one can do nothing if we ourselves do not open the doors of our hearts to him, by following his deceitful enticements.
—from the book Mother Mary: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis
God could have chosen to break upon the scene of human history to save us from our very selves in any way he wanted. It could have been in a way that was overtly grand and glorious and terrifying. He could have shaken the foundations of the earth with his coming and darkened the universe only to light it up again. He could have put on a fantastic show.
But he chose instead to create a vessel that could cradle his greatness—he chose to be borne by and born of a woman. The glory that happens in the womb of a woman may just be God’s best show of all. And the idea that our salvation is both borne and born in a world that scarcely knows it has a reason to hope? That God is working out the salvation of the world in secret ways with a woman as his only companion? What deep, rich grace there is in that!
Exactly one hour later, to the exact second that you slid into sleep, your father comes up to check on the kids, and he sees you with the rosary tangled in your fingers, and he silently goes downstairs and gets your mother, whose hands are soapy as she turns toward him questioningly from the sink, but she knows him, and she rinses her hands and dries them on that old blue towel, and she comes upstairs too, and they stand over your bed for a few minutes, in the moonlight. Neither of them says a word, but they never forget those few moments, and even now sometimes, for no reason at all, all these years later, one of them remembers, and says something quietly to the other, and they both smile and feel a pang of joy and glory and sorrow. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end, amen.