It occurred to me recently the kind of undaunted steel Mary must have been made of. Think about it. You're a young woman who has an angel show up one day and tell you that you are going to be the mother of God, as long as you agree. And you do.
Then you have to face the poor guy who knows he had nothing to do with you being pregnant. And move in with him.
Next - and here's the kicker - you have to ride, very pregnant, on the back of an ass to report in for a census the frickin' government is making you participate in, and you end up giving birth in ... well, probably the back of a cave where the family animals are kept. Labor and sweat and tears and fluids and pain and all. In the straw. Scriptures don't bother to mention a midwife. Was there one? Even then, would that make the experience much better?
I would feel abandoned by God. Probably in an end-of-the-world, earth-shatteringly dramatic, devastating, All Alone, no-holds-barred hissy fit. Wouldn't you?
You've said yes. Over and over, in fact. Yes, I will bear the child You ask me to bear. Yes I will be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. Yes, I will marry this man even though I can't explain everything to him. Yes, I will ride to the land of my people. Yes, I will give birth... alone... in a manger... holy crap. That is a huge yes.
And - yes - I will keep the faith. I will believe this has a greater meaning. I will sacrifice my body for God's call to me. I will not give in to self indulgence, personal drama, or the desire to take my yes back from the God who did not set me up in a nice, comfy room... heck, the God who asked me to do this in the reign of Rome and not a 2010 top of the line birthing center complete with flat screen tvs and whirlpool baths.
And yet there is no cry of abandonment. No wailing or cursing of a tyrannical God.
Mary Mother of God, Woman of Valor, you who relied on the grace with which you were filled... show us how to be self-giving. Model of Womanhood, Woman of Strength, may we learn to say yes to God even when we risk cave and straw, unknowing and aloneness.
This is the feminine. Denying the temptation to wallow in abandonment, and girding heart and loins to bring life to every man, every situation, every challenge, every people. I see this resonate in the mothers of children with illness, the intercessors, the sisters, the kind, loving women who are there in their own pain, still carrying Christ to others, even when it doesn't seem that God can be so near. May Mary comfort you and bring us all closer to that Baby who is our strength.