“It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18
This book talks about various women in Bible who live exemplary lives and displayed many virtues. It ends with the ideal women of Proverbs 31 and the characteristics women are to possess.
h3<>. Mother Mary
h3<>. Proverbs 31 women
h3<>. Characteristics of a Godly woman
“For if the man is the head of the family, the woman is the heart, and as he occupies the chief place in ruling, so she may and ought to claim for herself the chief place in love.” Pope Pius XI
“Experiencing this gift makes you become God’s own smile upon the newborn child, the one who guides your child’s first steps, who helps it to grow, and who is the anchor as the child makes its way along the journey of life.” From Letter of Pope John Paul II to women
God gave women the capability to love in a unique way as a mother. God compared his own love with mother’s love when he said “Can a mother forget her child and not have compassion on the one she bore? Even if she does, I will not forget you.” Isaiah 49:15
We are not alone in this journey. There were many amazing women in history who faced similar challenges but lived a holy life and gained the gift of eternal life. There is a lot to learn from them on how they dealt with the challenges they faced in their lives and what virtues helped them be whom God wants them to be. Let us look at some of them now and learn to imitate these brave women and do our part in bringing our families and communities to Christ.
God also through his word spoke about an ideal woman he created. We will look into what that women looks like and we can reflect on how close we are to that women God created us to be and how we can become more and more of that women by practicing the virtues God taught through the scripture.
I have heard people say Mary is not so special, if not her God would have chosen someone else. But why was she the God’s first choice to carry Jesus in her womb? What was so special about her? We can understand that if we understand a bit more about Mary’s life from the historical writings.
Anne and Joachim faced a lot of insults because of their barrenness. Joachim decided to go to wilderness to fast for 40 days and spend time in prayer specifically for the gift of child. During this fast, an angel appeared to Anne and told her that she will conceive and bear a child. Anne and Joachim vowed to dedicate this child to God and they kept their promise. Mary was left in the temple from the age of 3 till 14 when the temple priest based on God’s message chose Joseph to take Mary as his wife. Mary was known for her wisdom and concern for poor while living in temple.
Mother Mary is the blessed of all the women in the world. As through Eve sin entered into the world, through Mary, Jesus who is our salvation came into the world. She holds the greatest position as a channel of grace and salvation to the world yet never exalts herself above anyone else. She brought many nations to Jesus through her apparitions but is a humble women who always attributed the Glory to God alone. There is much to learn from her.
Attributes to learn:
Obedience: Obedience was the greatest virtue Mary had. God speaks to us in a lot of ways, through a lot of people. When he asks us to do something, we think of consequences and what is means to us. But Mary did not. She knew having a child before marriage could mean death if Joseph was not willing to take her into his home but that was not what she was thinking about. She knew she has to obey God for the greater good and she humbly and obediently accepted what God planned for her. That complete surrender and acceptance of his will in obedience is what God expects from each of us.
Humility: Mary has been a humble servant of Jesus in spite of carrying him in her own womb. This humility echoes in her words “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” Luke 1:38. Elizabeth filled by the Spirit of God called her the mother of the Lord and blessed her but she served Elizabeth for three months. She saw being the mother of God as a responsibility not the Glory and rightly so, it needs to be the Glory of God not her.
Greater Vision: Mary, from the time of accepting the will of God faced a lot of problems in her life. Simeon (meaning the God receiver) received Jesus from Mary’s hands and prophesied that many swords will pierce her heart and they rightly did. All the opposition Jesus faced during his ministry was painful for her to handle. His cross and death were piercing her heart and she had to bury him with her own hands. All this while, in spite of the pain and the tears she looked up to God and his promises. She remembered the promise God gave through angel: Your son will save the world; all the nations will call you blessed etc. Her vision was on things above not on things below. “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:2-3. She died to self and loved for Christ and the promise given her was fulfilled in Christ. We need to remember: “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” Romans 8:18.
Let’s take Mary as an example of how our lives should be. She always pondered the works of God in her heart. Everything happening around her was a point to meditate. We too need to look around us and see the blessings God has given us and ponder them in our heart.
There are many blessings in disguise which seem like a punishment or a curse for us but God is purifying us through those sufferings and his plan for us is much greater than just a little happiness and wealth in this life. By pondering on what we are going through and counting our blessings, our faith becomes strong and we become the real runners in the race competing for the crown of eternal life and that is what God has in store for us.
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