This is the Woman My Mary Is
Serialong Lebasa, Vereeniging – “Who is Mary to you?”, Fr Emmanuel Dim SMA of Vereeniging asked at a Mass this month. A handful of us gave different answers.
I did not raise my hand, not because I didn’t have an answer but because I couldn’t give a simple one-word answer. I have always imagined Mary as that woman whose “anticipated exciting wedding was not meant to be” — and as a result I have a lot to say about who Mary is to me.
I have seen men proposing marriage to their “one and only”. Then follows a lot of excitement where the bride-to-be prepares for the big day, the “perfect wedding”. She chooses a theme, a wedding gown, bridesmaids, the honeymoon, and invites guests to share the moment.
The parents also look forward to the day when they will show off, and proudly take their beloved daughter or son down that aisle.
What an electrifying moment! Even more exciting if the marrying couple come from a prominent family, say, a royal family.
Mary was “a girl promised in marriage to a man named Joseph, who was a descendant of King David”.
I have seen the British royals getting married. Remember the wedding of Prince William and Katherine Middleton? It was indeed a splendid celebration, with dignified guests of exceptional credentials.
Surely Joseph and Mary’s wedding should have been of the same standard? And the bride, of course, was supposed to be a virgin. Like any other girl, I believe Mary was busy preparing for her wedding to Prince Joseph.
Mary’s Wedding Preparations
She is likely to have been carefully watching her diet so she could fit easily into her wedding gown. Then…boom! Mary fell pregnant while preparing for her big day.
What will she tell her parents and her fiancé? What will Joseph say to his parents? What will the families say to the friends who have already been invited? The whole town is going to know. What a disgrace to fall pregnant before marriage!
I cannot imagine the depths of disappointment Mary felt when realising that the wedding of her dreams was not meant to be. But Mary knew better than arguing with God. Then she found something to soothe her heart.
She said: “I am the Lord’s servant; may it happen to me as you said.” Upon this acceptance, Mary felt strong and ready to face the world and she said: “From now on all people will call me happy, because of the great things the Mighty has done for me.”
There was no more wedding for Mary. No more honeymoon. However, she took comfort in knowing that her plans were not God’s plans. She was just the Lord’s servant and God knew that her wedding was not meant to be — because he had prepared greater things for her.
That is my Mary.