And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
This is definitely the kind of reflection a mom would do. Saint Luke notes all throughout Jesus’ young life that Mary kept the events of Jesus’ life and reflected on them in her heart. At the visit of the shepherds, and again after finding Jesus in the temple, Mary kept those memories for later reflection. Maybe she understood them, or perhaps had to work them out later, but keeping them in her heart, she was able to ponder the Word. She got to savor those moments over and over; it shows us the joy of Mary’s heart as a mother.
This idea of Mary reflecting on these things in her heart almost reminds me of a kind of It’s kind of scrapbook of memories in her heart, and I found myself wishing during these Christmas days, that I could take a look at that scrapbook. She had a first-hand view of how Jesus grew in wisdom and grace, and as Luke tells the story, her perspective of God’s work in the life of her family had to be incredible.
Mary’s reflection on the life of Jesus is really a model for us. Keeping those events close to her and reflecting on them later is her way of reflecting on the Word of God. Whether she understood them at the time or not, she didn’t just live through the moment and move on. Sadly, in our frantic-paced lives, we do that all too often. But Mary went back to those events later in her life – even after the death and resurrection of Jesus – and came to a new understanding guided by the Holy Spirit. And thank God she did that. It’s probably her later reflection on those events that made the early Church Evangelist able to record them and pass them on to us. I can just imagine Mary sharing those reflections with Luke and the other disciples.
We too, must reflect on the Word of God. We have to put ourselves in the presence of the Story, and ponder it in our hearts. If we’re confused by Scripture, we have Mary as our patron to help us reflect on that Word and come to understand it, guided as we are by the Holy Spirit. But we also have her encouragement to keep those Scriptures in the scrapbook of our hearts, to keep coming back to them. That’s the only way the Spirit can work on us and help us to come to new and more beautiful understandings of the Word of God, and in doing that, to come to a renewed and vibrant relationship with our Lord. But we have to do that following the example of Mary’s reflective pondering, or just like everything else in our lives, we’ll fly through the moment and miss it.
In Advent, I encouraged all of us to take some quiet, reflective time to be with the Lord. Today Mary shows us how to do that, pondering her God incarnate in her own arms. Imagine that! The Incarnation is definitely a mystery worth pondering!
If we would make a resolution for this new year, maybe it could be to follow Mary’s example. Maybe we could set aside some time on a regular basis – even just those five minutes – to put ourselves in the presence of the Word of God. And not just here at Mass, although that’s a good start. But maybe in private prayer or even in an organized Bible Study – we have a few of them going on in our parish on a regular basis. If we regularly open ourselves up to the Word of God, maybe we too could come to new and more beautiful understandings of the Scriptures; and a closer and more beautiful relationship with Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word of God.
Mary, mother of God the Word, help us to understand the Word as you did. Help us to ponder the great mystery of the Incarnation and savor its joy every day.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God:
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.