Mar 24, 2021 filed under Humility, Trust.

Mary's bold humility

Virtue Connection is 7 years old on the Solemnity of the Annunciation! To celebrate, I’ve invited St. Bernard (1090-1153) as guest blogger to take us inside the Annunciation — that breathless moment when all creation and even God himself awaited the Virgin’s response.

May we hear the whisperings of God in our souls and respond with as big a “Yes” as Mary did.

Love always,

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Waiting breathlessly
You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.

The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life.

Please say yes!
Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.

Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.

Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident. This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous. Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary. Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator.

Bring Jesus into our ailing world!
See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter. If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves. Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word.

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From a homily In Praise of the Virgin Mother by Saint Bernard, abbot
(Hom. 4:8-9; Opera omnia, Edit Cisterc 4. [1966], 53-54)

Annunciation mosaic, Grotto of Lourdes, Emmitsburg, Maryland. Photo (detail): Rose Folsom

14 Responses to “Mary’s Bold Humility”

  1. Linda Hartzell

    How wonderful that St. Bernard’s words place us in Mary’s momentary pause before her “Yes.”
    Happy birthday to Virtue Circle, Rose. Thank you for agreeing to this journey. My faith has grown by joining you on this walk. Today’s mosaic makes me yearn for the peace of the Grotto in Maryland. I must soon make a return visit.

  2. Colleen Kiko

    Beautiful – I never pondered about whether Mary would say yes. Nice reflection. And happy birthday to your Virtue Connection. Now that I have become more familiar with the virtues through your Virtue Circle, I am glad you kept the name.

    • Joyce Miles

      Good mediation.
      Happy Palm 🌴Sunday to all.
      To God be the Glory

      • Rose Folsom

        Yes, glory to God — we know the sun is shining brightly on the other side of today’s drizzling clouds. :)

  3. Sabine Paul

    Thank you for this reflection. Happy birthday to Virtue Connection! Wishing you a fruitful holy week too!

  4. Kathleen DiCiurcio

    Thank you for this reflection Rose. Mary’s life was about to change drastically but still she said yes. Happy Birthday to Virtue Connection.

  5. Rosemary Maestas

    Hi Rose,
    I had never contemplated
    the moments before Mary’s response. What a great meditation, thanks for sharing. Have a blessed Easter!

  6. Suzanne Landis

    The Annunciation of the Lord is a treasured feast in my life. At Mary’s fiat the Word became flesh. God became man at that moment of Incarnation, just as at the moment of conception each of us became human. Such a wonder to contemplate with grateful praise! Linda and Rose, I would love to pray with you at the grotto.

  7. Pat Westrick

    Happy 7 years to Virtue Connection and may the coming years be as fruitful and blessed.
    The reflection on Mary’s “yes” is very thoughtful. I hadn’t thought about that pause before she answered.

  8. charlene burian

    thank you for sharing this. I’m learning more and more about the Virgin and Holy St. Joseph and their selfless contributions to the salvation of the world this year Happy anniversary !