Summary: Mary was an obedient, observant and a fleshly treasury for the graces of God. She treasured the words and deeds of Jesus in her heart and sang of the joy of sharing in the new birth available for all mankind and is an example to the church.
THY WORD HAVE I HID IN MY HEART THAT I MIGHT NOT SIN AGAINST GOD
Psalm 119:11- “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (NIV)
Mary, a daughter of David, may have reflected on this Psalm; especially after the visitation recorded in Luke 1:26-35.
Psalm 119 was laid out in alphabetical order so as to be easily memorized. This devotional would have made its way from the temple and synagogues of ancient Israel to the minds and individual devotions of the devout.
The Apostle John (the theologian) referred to Jesus as "the Word made flesh". This Incarnate Word nestled near Mary’s heart as an embryo, an unborn child. (John 1:1ff_)
After the birth of Jesus, Luke records the obligatory visit to the temple with the offerings of a poor young couple. There Joseph and Mary were met by Simeon, who held the baby and sang,
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation, Which you have prepared in the sight of all people, A light for revelation to the Gentiles and for the glory to your people Israel.
Most young couples are poor. Mary and Joseph’s offering indicates that though they were of royal blood, they were like most other young couples in any age. But their lack of large wealth does not indicate cultural depravation or ignorance as so many writers of the last century and a half stated or implied.
Mary and Joseph were devout, observant Jews. They benefited from a long, rich tradition of faith. They owned the intellectual and spiritual wealth of many generations of wisdom and insight into the way in which God visited and provided for their ancestors.
Cousin Elizabeth, also devout and knowledgeable of the ways of God, greeted Mary with these words: But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”
No ignorant children were Mary, Joseph and Elizabeth. Descendants of a royal family with a long tradition of Wisdom and trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Hagar, they knew that they could count on “the God who sees me.”
When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
When Jesus was 12 years old, the young couple again made their way up to the high place, Jerusalem, for the Passover. They were separated from their son, and spent three days looking for him, and then found him in the temple. To their amazement, he was teaching the teachers, who were amazed at his understanding.
Mary saw this, and heard the words from Jesus, “Why are you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Luke notes that the young couple didn’t understand the full import of Jesus’ words at that moment. But Mary, as was her custom with this precocious, obedient child, “treasured all these things in her heart.”
Mary was an obedient, observant and a fleshly treasury for the graces of God. The Church remembered and still remembers, Mary. Nearly a century after Jesus' birth, John the Revelator, writing to the church under Neronian persecution and urging faithfulness, portrayed Mary as the symbol of faithful Israel and faithful Mother Church.
The maiden of Royal Descent is pictured as an icon so big as to fill heaven and earth. She has a garland of 12 stars around her head. She brings forth the Man Child who will rule the earth, recreate and save it by his death and resurrection. (Revelation 12)
This is who you are, you who are the Israel of God, Holy Mother Church in this generation. Like Mary of Nazareth, like ancient Israel, like Holy Mother Church in all the ages you are to uphold and present the Christ in this generation, announcing to all: Immanuel! God is with us!
Treasure these things in your heart and you will be blessed, as was Mary.
The Lord 2 millennia ago asked the Church to go to the entire world with this announcement.
Will Mary be obedient in this time in 2018? Will mother Church hold forth the Holy Child? Will our response be, “Let it be so, according to your word, even as you have said?”
If so, we will be able to sing with the Saint Elizabeth, the other saints and all angels, “Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus”.