Mary and the Public Ministry of Jesus

In the final episode of the Downton Abbey series, Lady Rose gives advice to Lord Robert Crowley, who has difficulty letting his wife take over more responsibilities in leading a hospital. She tells him, “Sometimes, to keep something, you have to let it go.”

Our Blessed LadyAs we continue in these reflections upon the life of Mary, we come to the time when Mary had to let go as Jesus went off to His public ministry. As the Gospels of Mark and Luke record, there was at least one time (and probably several others) when Mary and Jesus’ other relatives wished to come to Him, but He could not see them because He was ministering to the crowd. Jesus used the occasion to declare, “Whoever does the will of God is My brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:35.

Mary understood that her own desires, as holy as they were, had to give way to Jesus’ plan to bring the family of God to all people. Now that Jesus has risen from the dead with a glorified body, He is no longer confined to one place at a time. Through the Church, and especially through the Eucharist, He is with us throughout the world until the end of time. Nevertheless, it can sometimes seem that He is not present to us in prayer or in our actions. Sometimes prayer can seem dry and not lead to any sense of His presence. And sometimes our best efforts do not appear to bear much fruit.

For example, as recounted in the recent biography Come Be My Light, Mother Theresa was at first frustrated in carrying out the plans for a new order Jesus had given her; and then, after the order was established, there were years on end during which she rarely felt His presence in prayer. But she persevered all the same, coming to accept the fact that such disappointments were part of her vocation to join in the struggles of others.

In such occasions, we know that Mary is with us in our courageous and steadfast dedication. Faithfulness and dedication during times when we do not obtain the rewards we would like are often God’s most powerful means on making our faith more firmly grounded upon the pure love of God. Upon this solid foundation of humble faith, God then builds up great accomplishments that are free of self-interest and more a work of love.

For as Jesus says in the Beatitudes, ”Blessed are the humble of heart, for they will inherit the land.” Matt 5:5