man in your life--and He should be!--than Mary should be the most-important woman. For in the entire history of humankind, only she is so blessed among women!

Although Elizabeth is her older relative, she considers it an honor, an act of grace and kindness, that Mary should visit her. She even calls Mary “the mother of my Lord.” And so the Church has called Mary “Theotokos,” which means the one who bears God in her womb. Mary is the bearer of the eternal Word, the mother of the Messiah, the Son of God.

Mary is the doorway through whom God entered our world. She is the chosen and honored instrument of Christ’s incarnation, through whom the Son of God received His body that He might offer it for the life of the world. That’s why Mary is blessed among women and even all generations. That’s why, to this day, we are to honor Mary because of what God has brought about through her.

Mary shows us what happens when God’s Word has its way with someone. She was filled with the Spirit and the Word of God. She believed God. She trusted His Word. And from such trust in God’s Word, she said “yes” to God’s plan. She agreed to the impossible task of being the virgin mother of the world’s Savior.

Mary is a picture of God’s grace--that God should love us in such a special way that He would send His Son to be born of such a mother. God humbled Himself even to need a teenaged mother for nourishment and care, to be diapered and bathed by her, even though He is her God and Savior.

Yes, even to this day, we are to honor Mary as one whom God has blessed above all other women. We know she isn’t blessed and holy because of her own holiness or purity. She’s not good enough, just like you and I aren’t good enough. She is blessed because of the holy Child conceived in her by the Holy Spirit. She is our Lord’s instrument of His incarnation. That’s why she is to be blessed by all who believe in her Son for their salvation.

But here’s the best thing about Mary. Her soul magnifies the Lord, and her spirit rejoices in God her Savior. She directs our attention to the same place--to her Child, to her God, to our God! She teaches us to worship God in humility and fear. For as she sang, “His mercy extends to those who fear Him.”

Mary teaches us not to take our place with the proud and the powerful, the ruling and the rich of this world. For the Lord is the one who topples the mighty from their thrones. He puts the powerful in their place.

And yet God is a God of mercy. His arm is mighty to save. His arm lifts those who are humbled and bowed down. God helps those who cannot help themselves. His arm reaches out to fill the hungry with good things. His arm extended from the heights of heaven to a frightened girl named Mary. He reached down to embrace the world, to join Himself with us. He extended His arms on a cross to save us. He extends His arm to us now, as we hear His Word and receive His gifts.

Mary teaches us