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The Way You Do The Things You Do

November 15th, 2012by Emily Reis

I came across a reflection topic recently that totally surprised me.  It was first of all very simple.  Secondly, very obvious.  And thirdly, something that I had never managed to think of on my own before.

The idea is basically this:  What would Mary do if she was living in my life?  How would she handle and respond to the very same people, responsibilities, and challenges that I deal with?

For example:  What would she do right now, with this small afternoon that seems full of things I ought to get done, but is presenting me with children who are sleepy and needy and just wanting me to be with them?  How would she carry herself about the house that she just cleaned and tidied, but that just so happens to be a complete mess again in no time?  Would she be smiling and hopeful and kind?  How would Mary make the most of things, when things aren’t perfect?  How would she magnify the Lord in our little family life here today?

Some questions were easy:  It’s easy to see that Mary would not be snapping corrections at children just because they didn’t listen the first time.  But some situations I placed Mary in were not so simple.  There are things all of us deal with that seem kinda fuzzy at first.  That’s a sure sign that we need to bring these parts of our life to prayer and let God take the fuzzies away and fill our minds with His clarity and light.

Mary is a perfect helper for that.  That’s what she does, and that’s what she’s always done- just like the wedding feast at Cana (see the beginning of John, chapter 2).  She used her humble, womanly influence to get the whole situation in line with the will of God.  And she can help us get our lives in line with the will of God, too.  Here and now, in 2012.

So much of the Christian life is not just what we do, but the way we do the things we do.  Are we doing things in a humble, gentle, courageous, pure, faithful, merciful, prudent, loving (insert the virtue of your choice) way?  Because that’s the way Mary did things.  Part of the secret to her beautiful life is simply the way she did things:  perfectly united to God.

I don’t think Mary would be a “superwoman,” in the modern sense.  But I do think her response to life, and all it holds would still be love.  It would be her words from the Gospel of Luke, “Let it be done unto me,” when she radically accepted God’s will for her, even when it was probably not on her to-do list for the day.  In fact, God’s plan for her life, her motherhood, her destiny was probably the last thing she would have imagined. 

So help us, Mary, to do things the way you would – completely for Jesus, receptive, and trusting in Him.

Photo credit: Used under Creative Commons Licensing, flickr/sunfrog1

Emily Reis

Emily Reis lives on a farm in greater Cincinnati with her husband Patrick and three small children. She is a graduate of Franciscan University, where she earned a degree in Theology and Catechetics.