Children of Mary

Fr John Gribben cr

I am an unashamed fan of the Harry Potter books and I have gained particular enjoyment from the final volume. The theme of a mothers sacrificial and redemptive love runs through all seven books. Harry’s mother dies protecting him. Throughout the story this sacrificial love helps the young hero as he faces danger, temptation and death.

We are used to the pictures of Our Lady, calm and serene as she accepts the will of God. That Mary was greatly troubled’ sounds so English – a bit like saying ‘but I haven’t anything to wear’. It probably means that she was terrified, and if we look at the Scriptures, we see that she has cause to be worried:

A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron sceptre. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.

Amidst all the weird language, John is saying that the birth of the Saviour is of such cosmic significance that the powers of darkness move heaven and earth in an
attempt to prevent it, and that it is not just the Saviour but the Lady who bore him whom the dragon tries to destroy.
The ‘powers of this world’ want to destroy Jesus because his presence is a judgement on their political and religious systems. So Mary sings a war song on behalf of the poor and against the powers who have usurped God’s Kingdom. ‘Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring – those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.’

We are Mary’s offspring, ‘those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus’. Remember that the reaction of the dragon was to pour cold water on the woman. Apathy, despair, depression – these are the weapons of the deceiver.

Has our love grown cold? Can we still sing ‘My Soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit exults in God my Saviour’? Do you stand in the footsteps of the lowly handmaiden, willing to face danger for love of God’s Son?

Is anyone in need? Is anyone lonely? Is anyone being bullied or ostracized? Am I doing anything about it? What of my own behaviour: am I being unfair or unjust to anyone; is there someone to whom I am not speaking or against whom I am bearing a grudge? Putting down the mighty may mean standing up to the bully and the bossy and against those who use racist or offensive language against any of God’s children.

Rejoice that we are children of Mary, love and adore her Son and laugh at the dragon: for the accuser of our people, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb. Alleluia!