In her life, Our Lady gives us the perfect example of faithfulness. She unhesitatingly and completely accomplished the Will of God as it was manifested to her, by doing her ordinary, commonplace duties – caring for the Infant Jesus, making the home in Nazareth a welcoming place – and she was also faithful to the demands of charity and concern for those whom God placed in her path – such as going to assist her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant with St. John the Baptist, or her noticing the embarrassment of the young couple at the wedding feast at Cana, and then seeking to help them.
Mary obeyed the manifestations of the Will of God so faithfully that we cannot help but be filled with admiration, just from our human point of view. We cannot imagine her neglecting to follow the desires of God in any way, whether they were revealed to her by her duties, or the needs of her neighbour, or the message of an angel, or through the inner speaking of the Holy Spirit. Mary was like a leaf on a tree which is moved by the slightest breeze – she responded to His slightest urging and inspiration. Her soul was so attuned to the Spirit of God, that it was impossible for her not to take note of the smallest wish of the Most High God, and certainly she was always ready to respond to His greatest requests.
Here’s an important point: Mary’s faithfulness in the small things prepared her for faithfulness in great things. Her generous response to the demands of God’s Will throughout her early life strengthened her ready response at the time of the Annunciation. Her faithfulness made her completely worthy, completely ready, for God to work His Will in her in the accomplishment of the Incarnation and Redemption.
Her words “Be it done unto me according to thy word,” is our example of wholehearted surrender to the Holy Spirit – that is, her perfect acceptance of the Will of God exactly how and when and in what way He desired it to be accomplished. At every moment of her life – in all her joys and sorrows, in the wonder of Bethlehem and in the horror of Calvary – Mary was always accepting. She was always ready to let God’s Will be done. She was always perfectly conformed to it, and she was always ready to embrace it.
Pictured: "Madonna and Child" by Charles Bosseron Chambers (1882-1964)