By Sr. Dianna Ortiz, OSU
“And Mary said, ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of God; my spirit rejoices in God my savior” (Luke 1:46-47)
On this day, celebrated especially in the Americas, we remember the Mary who visited the humble peasant, Juan Diego, and ask again just who this woman is and what her message is for us today.
So often Mary is depicted on a throne of gold, looking down upon us. Her radiant glory obliterates even the stars in the sky. But is this truly the Mary who speaks to us today? When the Angel first came to her, she sat on no throne. She was young, poor, and seemed no different from others around her. The Angel’s glad message mentioned nothing of her impending homelessness, exile, or how she would bear witness to the torture and execution of her son. She was chosen not only to be the mother of Jesus, but to have a searing understanding of the pain and the sorrow that those who are poorest among us may feel.
It was not Jesus alone who was sent to carry a message to us. Mary too brings us knowledge born of cold reality and the courage to confront it. She issues to us the revolutionary promise that is “The Magnificat,” the prelude to the whole Gospel of God’s compassion for the economically poor and oppressed.
In this Advent season, as we await the symbolic birth of Jesus, we pause to remember that Mary’s age-old message of peace, justice, and hope is also intended to guide our own lives in these times of war, racism, destructive dominion, and injustice.
REFLECTION: 1) Does the message of “The Magnificat” have any meaning or implications for our nation’s political and economic systems and what our role should be in them?
2) If the Angel were in fact looking for Mary today to bring the message, just where would the angel find her?
This reflection is from last year’s booklet, Voices of Hope, Voices of Wisdom: Reflections for Advent 2012. This year’s booklet is Unshakeable Belief: Advent 2013 and is available online here. Sr. Dianna Ortiz is a Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace and the former executive director of the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC).