Our ancestors asked for the protection of the Blessed Mary for their church and for their community. They regarded her to be the guarantor of the future of mankind and surely they regarded her to be close to them, realistic for them. We take example of Her.
We look at you, Blessed Mary and through your realisicness we see our path.
As the citation of the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity (Apostolicam Actuositatem) says in its 4th paragraph: “the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Apostles, who while leading the life common to all here on earth, one filled with family concerns and labors”. So, Mary lived on the earth. Not in the clouds. Her thoughts were not floating about in the sky. Her gestures prove her dutiful presence in realistic, concrete environment. She did not feel exempt from being realistic, standing on the ground. She is as far from the abstract images of daydreamers, as far she is from the illusions of the escapists or discontented. She stubbornly remained available for those leading simple, ordinary lives.
Moreover, she was “leading the life common to all here on earth”, similarly to those living in Her vicinity. She drank from the same well. She ground the wheat in the same hand mill. She rested in the same courtyard in the shade. She also returned tired from the work on the fields. One day, she was also told: “Mary, you are getting grey.” And then, as any other woman, looked at her reflection in the mirror of a little stream and experienced the nostalgia over losing our youth.
But the surprises are not over since we can read her life, such as ours, was “filled with family concerns and labors”. Her life, full of human responsibilities, leads us to believe that our everyday life is not as trivial as it seems.
Yes, she had her concerns: health, household, relationships, adaption. Who knows how many times she returned from washing with a headache or with the thought why Joseph is getting fewer and fewer clients in his workshop? Who knows the number of doors she knocked on to find employment for Jesus in the time of oil crushing? Who knows who many hours she spent mending Joseph’s old coat to make new-looking one for Jesus not to be ridiculed among Nazareth’s youth? As all wives have, she must have had critical periods with Joseph in their relationship, who was of silent nature and surely they misunderstood each other sometimes. As all women, she suspiciously looked at all the stormy changes in his Son’s life, her heart full of doubts, hopes and fears. As all women, she experienced that others do not understand that great double love which filled her life. She must have been afraid of disappointment or the fear that she might not be able to fulfil the great role she had been given. And after she gave way to her tears in solitude, she found comfort in prayer and in the connection to the supernatural.
Virgin Mary, only you, a common woman, understand our crazy attempts to get your back in our world, in our earthly circumstances where we live. You understand that it is not to deconsecrate you. But if we, only for a moment, get you out of the halo to see your beauty without it! If we turn off the spotlights directed at you, we seem to appreciate our Lord’s omnipotence which hid the Source of the Light behind your body. We all know very well you were chosen to sail across deep waters. If you were forced to cruise close to the shore, it will not be a challenge for you. However, seeing you close to our shore, you can encourage us to risk at the ocean of Freedom.
Virgin Mary, a common woman, help us to understand that the most fruitful parts of theology are not those which interprets you and your role in the frame of the Bible, the patristics, the spirituality, the liturgy, the dogmas or the art. Instead of all these, we rather see you in your Nazareth home, among pots and looms, tears and prayer, wool balls and scripture scrolls. Here you could live the life of non-heroic womanhood, its simple joy and deep bitterness, the beginnings without returns.
Virgin Mary, a common woman, free us from the nostalgia for the epic times and teach us to lead our ordinary life as workshops of the Salvation. Loosen the anchor of our fears to experience the reliance on God’s will, even in weary times, even in the agony of slowly passing hours. And then, return to us, walk with us with your modest delicacy, you who, in an extraordinary way, was in love with normality. You, who, before you were crowned to be the Queen of Heaven, had treaded in the dust of our poor Earth.
(According to Antonio Bello)