Blessed Proverbs 31 Mother

call her blessed

Happy Mother’s Day!  I am so thankful for you, and your example of a virtuous woman who said “yes” to God, even when the task was huge, and you must have felt overwhelmed at times by the details.

Thank you, and bless you, Mother, your example helps me to walk in obedience when God calls me to difficult tasks.

I know that Proverbs is one of the books of Wisdom and not typically categorized as a book of prophecy…but I’m inclined to believe that Proverbs 31:10-31 is one of several exceptions to this classification of Holy Scripture.  I see you ALL OVER in this passage.  For today’s celebration, I have compiled paralell Scriptures from Proverbs and the New Testament accounts of you and your words.

You know how much I like numbers, especially how I love connections with numbers, dates, etc.  So, naturally I find it curious, in a goosebumps kind of way that Luke is the 3rd book of the New Testament, and your beautiful words of wisdom (The Magnificat) are recorded in the first chapter of Luke.  So, I held the passage in Proverbs 31 alongside of Luke (3rd book) chapter 1.  While I’ve also gleaned from other passages that either mention you, or record other words of yours, I just thought it was fun to have 3 and 1 show up in both places, and to put them side by side for a thought provoking parallel.  Another interesting thing to note is that I have just recently picked up an obscure little book by Thomas A’Kempis, called “The Imitation of Mary”.  While the parallels of these two chapters have been rattling around in my brain for months now, this new little book gives me extra incentive to try to be like that Proverbs 31 woman.  I want to be like you.

10  A good wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.   And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.  Luke 1:26-28

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.
“Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”  Luke 1:38

13 She seeks wool and flax,
    and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant,
    she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
    and provides food for her household
    and tasks for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
I love the thought of your hands tending a vineyard!  The fruit of your womb called Himself the Vine.

17 She girds her loins with strength
    and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
    and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor,
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.
“They have no wine.”  John 2:3  (said to the One who identified Himself as the Vine)

21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
    for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes herself coverings;
    her clothing is fine linen and purple.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger.  Luke 2:7  

23 Her husband is known in the gates,
    when he sits among the elders of the land.
“Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary?”  Matthew 13:55

24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
    she delivers girdles to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. – Luke 2:19
     and she laughs at the time to come.

26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.  Luke 1:50-55

“Do whatever He tells you” John 2:5

27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
 and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;  Luke 1:48b

29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
“Behold, your Mother”.  John 19:27
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands
Luke 1:42 …blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!

and let her works praise her in the gates.
All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus.  Acts 1:14

I love you , Momma.

 

 

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Learning to Pray the Rosary – Hail Mary

After the sign of the cross and the Apostles’ Creed, we come to the “Our Father” bead on our rosary.  I have recently done a series of posts on the Lord’s Prayer that you can read here, here, here, and here; so I’ll move to the first series of the “Hail Mary” prayer.  These are repeated three times along with the request of an increase in the virtues of faith, hope, and love, then again on the ten beads of each decade.

hail maryHail Mary…Ave Maria

I love the greeting, don’t you?  The salutation in this little prayer is the same that the angel Gabriel addressed Mary with when he appeared to her (Luke 1:28) at the Annunciation.  Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.  As near as I can tell, the word “Hail” is a word of greeting, like hello, but with a more respectful tone.  It says in this passage that she is troubled by these words, and wondered about this salutation to her.  I can only guess that it is her humility that wonders “why is He addressing me…a simple girl…with such a respectful greeting?” 

The only other places I could find where it’s used in the Bible is when Judas addresses Christ before betraying Him with a kiss (Matt 26:49, Mark 14:45); when the crowds mocked him in the accounts of His being mocked by the crowds (Matthew 27:29, Mark 15:18, John 19:3); and in his own greeting to the women at His tomb after the resurrection (Matthew 28:9).

Full of grace

I love that the angel Gabriel addresses her this way.  Before she has conceived the Son of God in her own body, she is told that she is “full of grace”.  Some translations say “highly favored one”…but I think “full of grace” is so much richer and deeper than just being highly favored.  As a new Catholic, this phrase holds the key to understanding Mary and her role on this earth.  She was “highly favored”, or “full of grace”, even before she said yes to God.  Isn’t that amazing?  I think that insight has helped me more than anything to fully grasp the Church’s teaching of her Marian doctrines.  She was endowed with a special grace that has not been seen elsewhere in Christ’s followers.  The early Church Fathers very matter-of-factually taught that Mary was the “new Eve”, preserved from original sin, and kept pure for the sake of her destiny.  You can read more, including quotes from the early Church Fathers here.

The Lord is with thee—blessed art thou among women

Again…all this affirmation of grace…God with her…blessings, before she even says yes.  I can’t get over it, for me it’s such an epiphany of proof of her being set apart for this specific purpose.  Where the first Eve tied the knots of sin and bondage, Mary, our new Eve, unties them because of the graces given to her to say “yes” to God and His wonderful plan of salvation.  She recognizes it herself when she affirms that all generations will call me blessed.  Reminds me very much of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31.  “Her children arise and call her blessed”.  Mary, the ultimate Proverbs 31 woman!

…blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus

This line is taken from Elizabeth’s reaction to Mary’s presence, and the wonderful miracle that she was given insight into.  When Mary visited her cousin, the Bible tells us that Elizabeth’s own baby (John the Baptist…Christ’s forerunner)  inside her womb “leaped for joy”.  This is the only instance I can find of one being filled with the Spirit in-utero.  Elizabeth recognizes the beautiful, miraculous thing that is happening inside her own belly is in direct response to the wonderful thing that God is doing in her cousin.

Holy Mary, mother of God

Since we know that Jesus is God in the flesh, then Mary, being the mother of Jesus, is the mother of God.

…pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death

When Jesus was on the cross, he said to Mary, “…behold, your son”, and to John, “…behold your mother”.  In effect he was giving them to one another, to love, cherish, and provide for.  I have no doubt in my mind that Mary loved her Son’s followers, after her loss, as her own children.  And as followers of Christ, she is given to us as our own mother as well.  My mother here on earth loved her children deeply, and she took in our friends as her own, loving, nurturing, and praying for them as if they were her own.  I love the thought of my mother, Mary, knowing my needy sinful state, taking me as her own, loving me, and praying for me, now, and through my life, and at the hour of my death.