Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mary Vs. Atheism

Did Mary encountered Atheism in her life, too? Scripture is vague about that, and will ever be if the mother of Jesus is concerned. But there are hints in the scriptures that Mary did faced tumultuous chapters in her lives which can vary from slight doubts, distresses and grave temptations to give-up. One of them is the drama of Calvary.

Mary was there. Scripture cited her being there with her kins and the apostle John (c.f. John 19:25-27) . If Mary was there all along, witnessing the sufferings of her Son, then maybe she, who has that godly attitude of humble discretion and keeping significant events in her heart, must have recalled what Simeon the Just had said to her at the time when Jesus has been presented to the Lord.

"... and a sword will pierce even your own soul..."(Luke 2:35a)

Mary must have kept this prophecy from that time on, and everything significant, from the annunciation of the angel to Jesus' ministry, Mary had kept all in his heart, pondering it until all became clear to her.

At the Calvary, Mary must have observed the irony of man, the insincerity and untruthfulness of men who applauded Jesus' entry to Jerusalem days ago. Mary, in his feminine tendencies, felt herself weak before the crowd, who shouted "Crucify him! Crucify him!" hours ago. Mary must have felt that painful feeling in witnessing someone whom she knows so much, condemned before many and will be lost from her soon . Mary must have felt, hours ago, that she died before Jesus did, for the heart of a mother cannot take the misfortune of his children especially if they are death-bound.

Just as Mary is "full of grace" and "highly favored", there is no room for the devil in her. But Satan wanted a foothold and that opportunity he seek in the humiliation of her dearly beloved Son. Mary felt that the temptation of Eve is crawling to her, saying "Don't believe in God anymore. See, here is your Son, downtrodden and dying before you. How can you trust someone up there if he cannot save your Son from this unbearable trial and shame?" The scripture drama of Eden is coming alive before her eyes. Satan is offering her the fruit of disbelief as the answer to her confusion. Yes, Mary is confused just as Eve has been confused. But unlike Eve, Mary had seal her answer already to God and not of the devil. Mary knows what he had answered to God that changed her whole life through from that moment.

"Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word"(Luke 1:38)

The approval that she had commend to God is what she must have kept fromthe start. She had been praying from the beginning. This is her Son's hour, which her Son had said in Cana. "Why do you involve me Woman, and what does that have to do with us? My time has not yet come!" (cf. John 2:4) Yes, wine is not the drink that can replenish the thirst of the soul. His Son can give that true drink, and he will pour it in His own hour. And she'll see it being poured, she must witness it all, so that His Son may testify to her and say again "Woman!" to her, thus fulfilling the "hour" that Jesus had told her heart. Everything that Jesus had told she kept in her, and the 'Woman!" call in the cross finally terminizes her pondering over it. Yes, that is the hour. The hour when Jesus reproof finally gave way to Satan's scourge.

The victory of Mary over her personal doubts about God came from her complete dependence in her Son. She had been praying from the beginning, just as all mothers do, that his Son might be victorious in the end. Atheism has became Mary's scourge for a while, but Mary's faith is too much for atheism. They cannot harmonize just as oil cannot mix with water. The sword that peirced in her heart became her sorrow, a sword that opened her heart and poured out what was being kept there. It fulfilled the scriptures inside her heart, whom she had kept as a mother must. The living epistle of Mary, that is, her heart's recesses, is declared in that sword. It is through suffering that many hearts will be revealed.

At the end of the day, Mary hadn't stopped her devotion. As in the beginning, she was found praying again, now not alone, but with his Son's legacy, the infant church. And she wil always be praying for it. Disbelief hadn't got a toehold in her, all because of her simple words "let it be done" that dovetailed great faith.

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