Gospel in Glass: Mary

In Christianity on April 15, 2011 at 11:04 pm

In St. Mary’s altar window, second only to our Lord in importance, is the Lord’s mother. Divisions in Christendom starting in the 16th century have robbed non-Catholic communities of the blessings Christ intended, when He said, “Behold your mother” (John 19:27). So let’s look at the richness the Blessed Virgin Mary adds to The Gospel in Glass, without even going into areas about which there are misunderstandings.

First, based on the biblical record, we know—so who can object?—that our Lord’s Mother was faithful to the end. Would we not want such a Mother to stand by us, even at great personal cost? Simeon’s prophetic blessing (Luke 2:34-35) is powerfully portrayed in the window: a sword not only pierced Mary’s Son, but pierced her soul, as well (2:35), as she watched the Child she had cradled, nursed, and guided die in agony.

Second, also from the biblical record, can we not deduce Mary may have lived most of her life with this expectation for her Child’s death? Mary and Joseph were warned in a dream after Christ’s birth not to visit Herod on their way home. Herod had said, “Search diligently for the child . . . that I too may do Him homage” (Matthew 2:8), but we know how that story ended (Matthew 2:16). Yet if Jesus’ death was among the things Mary pondered in her heart (Luke 2:19) from Simeon’s prophecy and Herod’s hatred, her faith never wavered. She lived-out her Magnificat to the end (Luke 1:46-49):

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.  For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His name.

How many of us can say “God has done great things for me” in great tragedy, or in anticipation of tragedy? How many of us would have had the love, courage, and strength to stand at the foot of the cross? How many of us do today?

May we follow the faith of the Virgin Mary and share her complete commitment, even at great personal cost, to her Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s the Gospel in Glass and Christianity Richly!

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