The Vocations of Mary

During the months of August and September, Drusilla of Heirs in Hope wrote some very interesting and informative posts (and responded to a wide variety of questions and comments) on the subject of there being two vocations in the Catholic Church:  marriage and consecration to Christ.  It was very timely for me, as I was in the midst of reading about the vocations of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Adrienne von Speyr’s, Handmaid of the Lord:

“Both states were lived by Mary…. The Lord led her into both states, and each time in a precise, definite form of communal life, foreseen and devised by him.” 

Mary and Joseph, writes von Speyr, “are betrothed as people who want to serve God and belong to each other.  These two intentions are not equivalent for them; the will to serve is the determining factor and forms the basis of their commitment to each other.  They consecrate their betrothal and their whole life to this service.”  Although their betrothal and marriage was infused with the supernatural from the very beginning, yet, says von Speyr, their years of marriage entailed, “mutual service in housekeeping, breadwinning and everything involved in the toilsome and harsh scraping out of a life.”   Joseph attained to God and holiness through Mary, yet it was he who was instrumental in initiating Mary “into the mystery of the natural community.”   This marriage, this common calling, writes von Speyr, was “nothing less than making possible the Incarnation of the Son of God and his development.” 

Although the Blessed Virgin had always been the model of contemplation, von Speyr tells us that it is at the foot of the Cross that she receives, “her new supernatural fruitfulness [in the form of] a new supernatural association with the apostle John.”  Here truly begins the Blessed Virgin’s second vocation, that of life as a religious.  Jesus gives Mary to John as his mother, and gives His mother to, “the priest, John, whom the Son already possesses as a saint, and Mary now submits to the priestly mission of the Apostle.”  She lives in John’s home as in a cloister, adjusts herself to the rules in place there, and “conforms to John’s office – the office bearing the special form of unity between authority and love.” 

“If the religious state thus receives the breath of life at the foot of the Cross, it is like a first-fruit of the Passion, even before the great and universal fruit of redemption and confession is plucked on Easter.  This first-fruit consists in this:  that Mary and John, at the foot of the Cross, share in the Son’s suffering and are thus initiated into a new form of community.” 

15 thoughts on “The Vocations of Mary

  1. It took me quite a while to figure out I must never go to Drusilla’s without a life preserver tucked under one arm, ’cause just as I’m leaping onto her deep so as to walk, I find myself sinking like a stone before everyone’s eyes. She’s grand yet dangerous landscape! She, like you, like so many good souls — tho’ uniquely so — makes us think, makes us plunge way beyond the depths I am used to. If not for the burly spotters you have in place, G, which watch out for anyone who shows up without a preserver even before they get here, I’d have drowned long ago.

    “If the religious state thus receives the breath of life at the foot of the Cross, it is like a first-fruit of the Passion, even before the great and universal fruit of redemption and confession is plucked on Easter” — Amen! Beautiful!

  2. Oh, I am out of my depth at Drusilla’s too, JustMe, but I like to get in the canoe and try to paddle a few strokes, just to see if I recognize anything. Anything at all. Usually end up skipping stones and then meandering along the bank gathering wildflowers. 🙂 So glad she eventually returns and sits with us ’round the campfire and explains everything!

  3. Well, her name goes before her, clearly, what with these two commendations, what excuse do I have for not visiting Drusilla?
    The idea of sitting round a camp fire talking of those things that are close to our hearts is very appealing, and then when the talking would cease, I guess the singing would begin…

  4. It sounds lovely indeed, Ann, and I’m imagining the laughter as well. Does this ever happen for Catholic women? I have no idea, JustMe. (My mom wouldn’t even let me be a Brownie or Girl Scout, because the meetings were held, aaaaaaaaaaaahhh, in the basement of the Anglicaaaaaaaaan church! God forbid!) 🙂
    I’ve got to leave for work now, and tonight I have a little meeting at the church. I would rather be sleeping. 😉

  5. 😦 Aw, no Girl Scouting for you? How sad to know you missed rainy hikes to a moist beach or dripping forest, as well as knitting a potholder that only a dear ol’ Fr. Canadian Grandma could unravel and repair unto badgehood. Hmm.. “a little meeting at the church” reminds me there is Cenacle tonight.. Maybe I’ll be smart enough to go; either way, here’s wishing you (and you all) a marvelous day/eve.

    And yes, the laughter.. the laughter of women who love God and yet who are necessarily down to earth, is so precious. I would honest to God stand on line for tickets unto that.

  6. That is a very beautiful Marian poem by Pope Benedict XVI which Father Zehnle posted. I am putting this site under my favourites, because I have not been able to read any of Pope Benedict’s writings yet, except for a little bit of Sacramentum Caritatis, which I very much want to finish before the 49th Eucharistic Congress in June 2008. We have many of his books in the library at my parish, but I just haven’t had the time. It will be good to read excerpts from a lot of different ones at Father’s site. Thanks, Anon!

  7. I am hoping to go to the Congress.. our Diocese is going as a group .. only one hitch — one must have some sort of medical card as well as a visa..there’s a few months in which to hammer that one out, but this Congress, well… sounds like one almost MUST go, eh? It is hoped that the Pope himself will close the Congress with Mass!

    Yes, I stumbled upon the site from a site that is always allegedly ticked off and which put up a click icon with the caption: Someone else whom no one reads. Ha, they know how to draw me in, that’s for sure.

    A unique site indeed, for it captures a side of Ben XVI we need to see and hear and love and run to.

  8. D’oh.. that is also why I don’t play poker.

    But lest others misunderstand, it gets tiresome to see so many comments anywhere from “justme”.

    *sigh.. I’m going to work, where I’m also too well known, lol

  9. Screams of delight!!! We shall meet at the Congress!!! Oh, you simply must come. Hurry, hurry and get your visa and whatever else you need. Maybe BlueCross is good enough?

  10. LOL! I have my visa–and the fare. I just don’t have insurance/card, but I’ll call our organizer-priest and see what one can do.

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