What Mary Did–And Didn’t Do

The mother of Jesus held strong in her faith despite the unknown and eventual heartbreak.

Posted in , Nov 7, 2017


My friend Kelly came to town this week, and somehow as we walked down 42nd Street we ended talking about Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Kelly said that, as a mom herself, the most amazing aspect of Mary is that she didn’t run screaming into the road at Calvary, trying to change the outcome and save the day. Mary knew that her son’s life was His own, and she didn’t try to force Him down a different path. She tolerated her own distress–and His, too. This, in Kelly’s mind, was heroic. I thought so, as well. 

“For me, what’s astonishing is that the angel Gabriel only came once,” I told Kelly in reply. “Mary got a single visit and had to hold onto that truth and message all those years.” There were no weekly reminders, no brush-up visits from heaven, no friends who were there when it happened and could reassure her it was real. All that not-knowing, and still she kept going, faithfully. Kelly nodded.

Later we headed up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and saw many paintings and statues depicting Mary holding her infant son and lamenting Him at the crucifixion. The limited range of circumstances in which she was shown reminded me there isn’t a whole lot that we know about what Mary did. Perhaps, then, it’s helpful to ponder what she didn’t do, too: She stayed faithful in difficult circumstances. That tells me something about what God wants of me, too.

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