From a Creighton Student's Perspective
March 25, 2011
1st Year Medical Student
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” -John 15:13
That is exactly what Mary did: her whole life was laid down for the sake of our salvation. While she was not crucified physically with Christ, she experienced a spiritual crucifixion as she followed her beloved Son to the cross. The pain she endured can be traced back to our origin in the creation of the world.
On the surface, the first sin of Eve seems to be a disobedience to God’s command, but it is much more than that. While it’s clear that she gave in to the lie of Satan and cast God’s only rule for her and Adam aside, the root of her sin was a lack of trust. Her action of accepting the serpent's cunning lie said to God that she did not believe or trust him. She felt that he was ‘holding out’ on her and Adam; that there was something better in store for her after eating the fruit. While it was a disobedience to his command, her actions showed that she thought the Lord's will for her was not perfect.
This is a direct contrast to the actions of Mary we see in today’s Gospel. Adam and Eve were in perfect union with God; he had given them dominion over everything on earth. Yet even in this, they lacked faith in him and did not trust his intentions for them and their existence. While Mary was immaculately conceived and had great grace poured upon her in this, I would say that her intimacy with the Lord was not as marvelous as Adam and Eve’s prior to the Annunciation. Still, in complete humility and trust she said yes to the Lord’s mysterious plan for her. She cast herself aside and opened her heart to the Holy Spirit in such an amazing way that through this union she conceived our Savior.
While there are countless lessons we can learn from this story and the life of Our Mother Mary, I want to leave you with a simple thought. God took an ultimate risk in giving us our free will. He would never impose his love upon us, for that is to go against the very nature of love itself. Love is to be freely given and freely received. God wants us to choose him for his sake. He knows that to serve and love him is the ultimate fulfillment of our human nature, yet that is for us to discover. But without choosing him, his work cannot take place in our lives. Consider these words from St. Monica:
“To abandon yourself thus to Jesus is to permit Him to carry out His whole work of love.” -St. Monica
As we continue in our Lenten journey towards Calvary beside Mary and Jesus, let us reflect upon her 'yes' to the Lord. May our hearts be converted all the more to grow in confidence and trust in the Lord and his perfect will for us. Without creating the space for him in our hearts, he cannot enter. Let us choose him and trust him in a way as never before, following the humble lead of Our Holy Mother. May God be ever more present to us that we may each cast ourselves aside and cling to his cross in total trust.
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