Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Marian Model, Part II

In a previous column it was proposed using “The Marian Model” to discuss how a wife was to act in a marriage. I would like to continue that today and in future columns, by listing events from the Blessed Mother’s life, and how I believe they could apply under marriage.

First and foremost, one should look at the Annunciation, when the archangel Gabriel visited Mary and announced that she would conceive and give birth to the anointed one of Israel, the Messiah. When this series first began, one could remember it was discussed that the primary purpose of marriage was to glorify God, as is the purpose of everything in life. It means not just accepting the calling God gives us, but embracing it, knowing that this calling is how God will be best glorified. Certainly Mary had to understand that being the Mother of the Messiah would ultimately be a dangerous calling, and a very difficult one. It was not simply enough for her to accept the calling, which she did by stating “behold the handmaid of the Lord.” She embraced such a calling with the beautiful prayer the Magnifcat:

My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty hath done great things to me; and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him. He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy: As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.

One would do well to remember that this incident came right after being called blessed by Elizabeth. Rather than accepting the blessing towards herself, she directs that blessing towards God. The great role that had been bestowed upon her, she recognized that this role was for the service of God and nothing else. She is called blessed only because “he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid.” Just like her son, Mary viewed her very purpose for existence as giving God all the glory.

While it’s obvious such a principle would not exist in a secular concept of marriage, it is not excusable that such a principle seems absent from so many in the Church as well. Around me I always hear from people when it comes to relationships “what the person does good for me” or “what we have in common” whenever I ask why that person is good for them. Of course these things are important. Yet these things do not make a relationship within the Church. The relationship is centered upon God. Each spouse at times will have to do things that they get very little pleasure out of. What mother or father takes pleasure in changing a diaper? Everything the husband and wife have in common will make little difference in some situations, where it takes more than similarities to keep a bond united.

I submit it is through Mary’s fiat and the Annunciation that all can receive an insight into how to act in relationships, especially women, who are obviously going to identify with Mary more. In future columns other events from Mary’s life will be considered.