Mary, Beacon of Boldness
The theme of the 2019 One Call summer program is “You Work Great Things in Me.” Drawn from Rory Cooney’s setting of the text of the Magnificat prayer (“Canticle of the Turning”), this theme reminds us of the need to say “yes” to the plans God has for us, just like Mary, the Blessed Mother.
In the reflection below, team member Becky Gaunt reflects on Mary as a model for each of our lives.
December 8 is a date I never forget for a variety of reasons. For one, it’s the birthday of one of my best friends from childhood and so the date is burned into my memory along with her home phone number (though we haven’t spoken in almost 20 years)!
Most of all, I remember December 8 because I was raised in a family that, for generations, has honored Mary through a variety of devotional traditions. In particular, December 8 marked our annual celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a day that typically included Mass, family rosary, and the crowning of my Grandma’s Mary statue with a simple ring of flowers that we bent and weaved on the way to her house.
I admit it’s been years since I’ve made a crown for Mary out of actual flowers or prayed a rosary with my entire family present. While I sometimes miss those traditions, I am also grateful to see how my devotion has changed and evolved. In my life, Mary no longer only represents a model of dutiful sweetness and gentility. She is a beacon of boldness! She is the embodiment of mission, leadership, and justice. Honoring Mary has become more about speaking up and empowering others to use their voices. I honor Mary when I choose action and don’t let myself be paralyzed by fear. I honor Mary when I stand in the belief that I am truly God’s beloved child. I am loved. I belong.
Yes, my devotional traditions have changed. But, is this so unlike the crown of flowers I made for Mary as a child? What if these acts of boldness are also flowers for Mary’s crown? I like to imagine that this is the sort of bouquet Mary truly delights in.
Becky Gaunt is a member of the One Call Institute teaching team. She serves as liturgist at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota.