"But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son and you are to give Him the name Jesus…”
On December 8th Roman Catholics around the world celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Whilst most of us are not Roman Catholic and thus we do not venerate Mary in the same way, there are important lessons to be learnt from the Mother of Christ.
I often think of the amazing grace given to Mary in that she was so ready and willing to submit to God, yielding her body to be the carrier of the saviour of the world. I must confess that the struggle to always be obedient to God is something I sometimes wrestle with so the act of surrendering my will to God’s is something I must do daily.
Here are the seven lessons I learn from Mary based on the story re-told by Luke in the first chapter of his gospel.
I am struck by how much Mary trusted God, in my experience, a woman’s trust is built up only through intimate relationships and strong and open communication over a long period of time. Mary therefore had an intimate relationship with God which must have been built up over the years prior to the visitation by the angel Gabriel. She will have known the Jewish scriptures and prophecies of the coming Messiah, this enabled her to recognise God's will and plan in the voice of the angel.
She was willing to surrender her life to God's will, she never asked why, she only asked how; the ‘how’ question itself shows a willingness to obey. "How will this be, Mary said, since I am a virgin."
She was obedient "I am the Lord’s servant’ she said". (Luke 1:38)
Surrender goes a step further than obedience when she said; "let it be to me according to your Word" (Luke 1:34) she shows a complete yielding and openness to God.
Mary’s faith was built on trust; her unwavering belief was evident to her cousin Elizabeth who when she saw Mary exclaimed: “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished”. (Luke 1:45)
6. Action and Testimony
It’s one thing to say we believe or even to say yes to God but it’s a whole different ball game to get up, get ready and go and tell somebody about His love. Mary did just that; “At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth.” (Luke 1:39-40)
Finally, Mary worshipped, her poetic song of love shows her genuine love and reverence for God:
“And Mary said "My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my saviour..." (Luke 1:46)
My prayer, will you pray it with me?
"Dear Heavenly Father, My God and my saviour, thank you for the important lessons that I have learnt from Mary this week. May I further know, trust and always be willing to obey you. Grant me the amazing grace given Mary, to always surrender my will to yours and to carry all of your plans for my life to full term. May I see your face in the land of the living as Mary saw the angel Gabriel and worship you with all my heart for evermore. In Jesus Name, Amen.
If you prayed this prayer with me today send an amen back so I can pray for you. Please continue to pray for us, that God will open doors for our message and we will proclaim it faithfully as we should.
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