Life requires life as a sacrifice. In bygone days, all mothers knew that bearing children was risky. Far too often, mothers died in giving birth. There never was any question as to who was to live and who decided who lives. Mothers did not play God as they do today. Fortunately, the women who lived prior to our enlightened sexual age did not have eager physicians to tamper with prenatal life. Even the pagan doctors feared the gods too much to meddle with the regeneration process. Only evil people dared to disrupt the domain of the deities. For both, pregnant women and physicians, it was their divine duty and great honor to bring children into the world. Their world celebrated pregnancy while our world has become a mortuary.
Mary believed that the fruit of her womb would become what God had promised. It was not just faith in an idea, but faith in herself that she could fill the role God had ordained for her. To her, it meant being the handmaid and a servant of the Lord. She felt able enough to take on the responsibility of child rearing. First, carrying a baby in her womb and then nourishing and nurturing it until it can be on its own. Mary performed admirably. In her care, her son Jesus learned early as to who He was and what He was intended to be. At the age of twelve, He was in the Temple acquiring knowledge and not on the streets seeking mischief. It was not an easy chore to care for a special child. The prediction of Simeon, that a sword would pierce her heart, must have hunted her. It was not that her son was special, for all children are special, but that He was different from other children. The idea that He was the Son of a heavenly Father and that He was destined to cause the rising and falling of others must have been ridiculed and laughed at. Luke recalls that people would speak against him. It meant isolation for the boy and his family. One wonders how many times his step-father must have said, “Why can’t you be and act like the other children?” Siblings themselves do not like it when one of them is different. The story of his ancestor Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers, was familiar to Joseph the foster father.
Mary’s world was kinder to mothers than our world is today. But then, mothers did not compete for a man’s job. They did not have to because they had husbands who provided for their families, even for adopted children. Is it any wonder why women have many second thoughts on becoming mothers? Then add the distorted view of the picture world that has designed a TV Women with certain dimensions and looks. Motherhood simply cannot compete with these demands nor can it survive in a system that prefers shapes and looks to overweight and wrinkles. The same marketers that use slim young ladies to push their products push foods and additives that only add to weight and wrinkling problems. Women have become prey to an advertising media that does not care what happens to them as long as their coffers are being filled with green paper. On one hand, women are urged to buy foods that expand their waistline; on the other, they are forced into dieting, exercising and even medical treatments. They are being kicked back and forth like a football and all for profits.
Who wants to be a mother in a world that glorifies values that do not include the hardships and complications of bearing children? It is difficult enough to be pregnant without worrying about bills, work and a host of other related problems. Becoming a mother is not a big public concern anymore. There is money for huge and costly sport facilities, but not enough places where unfortunate women can go and have their babies. There are millions of Dollars for ball handlers, but none for doctors and nurses who are qualified in delivery and care. There is praise and recognition for a person who kicks a ball into a net. Sport heroes fill a page of news. A woman giving birth to a baby, unless she is famous, receives no news coverage. Our society is just not conducive to motherhood. It is failing to grasp that without mothers there will be no society. When Mark Twain was asked what this world would be like without women, he replied “Scarce.” We have reached that brink of extinction.
In Mary’s world, God played the major rule in motherhood. She believed, with all her heart, that she was obeying God and doing his will. She had not asked for this baby nor did she find it in being promiscuous. But when it was trusted upon her, she accepted it as an act of God and as a fulfillment of His will. The life in her was God’s life and not hers to tamper with. There are alot of women today do not believe in the Will of God. They act in their own interest and not even in the interest of the “fruit of their womb.” In fact, many regard it as a hindrance from what they prefer to do. They appear to wish that they were born with sex organs that could be turned off and on as they please. Without a higher power to guide them, they have become an end in themselves. That leads to the shocking conclusion that the “fruit within her womb” was an accident and a mistake.
Mary’s fruit in her womb was no accident and no mistake. She was convinced that God had put it there. It was God’s life and not hers that she was carrying. Our morally liberated women do not regard the fetus as life. They treat it as if it was some cankerous growth that belonged to some man with whom they had a brief encounter. They believe that if they do not want a baby then it was a mistake that can be corrected by abortive means. If that is not irrational then what is? Not every sexual encounter results in pregnancy, not even among married people. It is still a mystery why only one sperm in millions finds its way into the ovum and is allowed to join and become a living being. Until anyone comes up with a better answer, Mary’s belief that God put it there is still by far the best.
Mary also believed that God had a special purpose for her child. God did not act at random when he picked Mary to become the mother of Jesus. She, and she alone, would be suited for that child. She believed in her Son’s purpose from the day of conception and not from the time he graduated from college. It is an awesome thought that God does have a purpose for every life and that He picks the mother that can make that life a reality and fill that purpose for which it was intended. To deny that life to enter the world is to interrupt God’s Purpose for humanity and it robs humanity of the contribution that life could have made. It is inconceivable that women have taken it upon themselves to deny other human beings the right to live and fulfill their purpose. Each life is a link in a chain and one wonders how long that chain can hold humanity together if we continue to shorten it because we find some of the links burdensome and unnecessary?
The climax of Mary was how she felt about herself. She was a true “Makaria!” She rejoiced and composed one of the greatest praises called: “The Magnificat.” Mary felt lifted, exalted, chosen, and favored by the Lord Himself. Can we possible see her in our vision as being in a jubilant state while she did not even know how her husband would react to her carrying some one else’s baby? It matters a great deal as to how one regards oneself. Both men and women need a little bit of Mary’s “Makaria.” It is that blessed state of mind that God alone can grant to those who are willing to be the “Instruments of His Good Will” for mankind. Especially women who toy with the idea of motherhood, might want to take a hint from one who found happiness in God’s choice for her life. It may after all not be such a bad idea to believe that one is indeed fulfilling a higher purpose for humanity. And one may want to sing with Mary her song of praise and ponder the meaning of her words. “My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has looked down upon the state of his humble servant; for behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed (makariousin). The Mighty has done great things for me, holy is his name, and his mercy extends to those who fear him from generation to generation. With his arm he has done great things he has crashed those who think highly of themselves. He has brought down the mighty from their throne and raised up the down trodden. He filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel to remember how to be merciful; even as he has said to our fathers, to Abraham and his seed forever” (Luke 1:46-55).