“Did Mary have other children?” “How did a 15-year old Mary cope with giving birth and being a mother at such a young age?” “Mary was with Jesus almost all of his life, she was also there at Pentecost, yet so little was written about her. Even the Koran has a whole chapter devoted to Mary (Surah 19). Are there any other records of Mary other than in the books of the Bible?” >“What is the basis of the Hail Mary?”
These were some of the questions posed to Fr. Martin Arlando when he gave a two part formation on “Mary, Mother of God” on the 3rd and 10th September, 2014. Fr. Martin began the formation by asking those present what were the names of the Blessed Virgin Mary that they had come to know. He then gave a list of the various names Mary was come to be known. He remarked that Mary was unique in that she was called by different names in many countries. There was little historical data on Mary. She mostly associated with Christmas and Easter. But this seems to be her intention as she always points to Jesus and not herself.
Is Mary relevant today? Fr. explained that if we look back on the life of Mary we can see the many roles she played in her life. She was involved in the daily concern of raising her only child. She was a pious Jew, a mother, a homemaker, widow, a single mother and provider but mostly she was a disciple. She had to deal with situations common to everyone today. As a woman of immense faith and strength she constantly leads us to Jesus. Fr then presented a list of scriptures that quoted Mary. She presented the best of all humanity in her obedience and trust in God, her strength and courage in the face of adversity. She reminds us that God comes in our quiet, our listening and in the promptings of God’s grace within us. Mary showed us that we needed to trust in God after we have chosen. To be open to the “impossible realities” of our lives. Fr Martin then asked those present, “What is your annunciation?” What is God calling you to do? We are to look for guidance by following the example of Mary in doing God’s will. Let our response be “Let it be unto me according to Your word.”
Mary showed that she was a caring person in visiting Elizabeth and looking into her age old cousin’s needs until she delivered John. There is evidence that she continued to work after the crucifixion in that she was present in the room at Pentecost. Mary represents the meaning of absolute faith and fidelity in our lives and by offering the simple and ordinary works of our hands we can emulate Mary. We can be sure that Mary did face many temptations and frustrations as she probably died quite late in life. In living simply as a mother for Jesus was not so simple as she faced the trauma of looking for a lost child, being a hostess to many of Jesus’ guests and a perfect guest at functions as seen at the wedding at Cana.
Above all Mary was a good listener and the personification of God’s will, the bearer of her cross in suffering of losing her only child so violently and being there as an active presence during the early persecution of the early Christians.
Many of the those who attended this formation were glad to be able to given this wider perspective of Mary’s role in our catholic faith. In a brief sharing segment, many testified seeing visions of Mary and the working of her hands in their lives. This formation served it purpose of making the parishioners of CDM realize the importance of the coming month of the rosary.
Dr. Ivan Filmer
3rd October, 2014.