Of course we understand that Mary is the Mother of God, and she of course has an important role. But I think we forget something very important. She had a choice to say “yes” or “no”. Mary was around 15 years old when the Angel approached her and presented her with God’s plan. We tend to look at the interaction between Gabriel and the Blessed Mother as a moment in which an Angel gives her a command, but it isn’t. He announces an invitation, to which Mary must respond.
Gabriel says to her “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
If this was a command, it would be done after the Annunciation. The Angel would appear, he would say what he has to say, and then he would leave, after which point Mary would be pregnant whether she wanted to or not. But this isn’t how God works with His people. He calls people, and they respond. He gives them the freedom to say yes, and the freedom to say no. Salvation history is full of valiant men and women being at times in favour with God through obedience to His will, and at times out of favour as they disobey and choose their own path.
The young adolescent Mother of the King is approached with an offer to be God’s instrument in the greatest drama the universe will ever see. All the angels in heaven, the demons of the world, and the faithful waiting for their Messiah watch as a Virgin is told she will be the Theotokos, the “God bearer”. She will not only be the Mother of the Saviour, but she will be the Ark of the New Covenant. God’s presence, which is too big to be held by all of mankind, will humble itself to the size of an embryo, and will fit nicely in the Womb. The Creator of the Heavens and the Earth will humble Himself so greatly that He will be at the mercy of gestation, carried around by the humblest and most magnificent of women. God Himself who needs nothing has become so needy that He can’t even hold up His infant head without the soft and gentle hands of the Mediatrix of all Graces.
He will grow over a close to 10 month period in His mother’s womb, until the point when He will enter into the world blind and gasping for air. He will be helpless and fragile, with no means of survival except for the Virgin’s breast. The King of Israel, King Herod, will send his minions and henchmen to slaughter the innocent children as he learns the news of the Divine Infant born in a stable etched out in the form of a cave. The soldiers will ride over his head as the hooves of the riders of death will search to destroy the Innocence of God. Joseph will learn the will of God in a dream, after which he will whisk his family off to a foreign land, to seek refuge from the king who wishes to kill the King.
Mary is not simply saying yes to an offer of a child. She is saying yes to an offer to enter into the battle for the soul of man, the Heart of God present in the world. She is saying yes to an invitation to crush the head of the serpent with the birth of her Prince. She is contemplating a calling to bear the hopes of the Moses who died in the dessert as his people still hadn’t reached the Promised Land. The Kingdom of God will reside in the loins of the Handmaiden of the Lord.
For a brief moment, all the angels in heaven will hold their breath as the Virgin hears the Annunciation of the good news about the Good News. In a period of less than a moment, all of Heaven and Earth will exhale with jubilation as the Queen Mother looks into the celestial eyes of the Angel Gabriel and gently proclaims with the giant humility befitting of the co-creator of God’s Son, “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”
Immediately after this, the Angel is free to depart, as his mission has been fulfilled. As he looks up to his comrades in the Heavenly Host of Celestial Soldiers, the music of heaven becomes louder than the clap of the Red Sea as it descends upon the Egyptian chariots. The mission of the Messiah is now set to commence. The Greatest Story ever told is now incarnate in the Body of the Caretaker of Christ. The Holy One, the Immortal One has been ensouled in the sacramental espousing of the Holy Mother and the Holy Spirit. The universe begins anew as He who creates His own mother is woven together by the threads of her obedience. Never again will the Devil have his due, as the equilibrium of power has been thrust topsy-turvy, the rationality of the Enemy’s hatred has been rendered inside out.
Mary has said “yes” to God’s will, and God will learn to say “yes” to His mother’s.
Thanks to the Woman, The Son of God has become man, and now men can become sons of God.