Mary: The Model of Submission
In the first Advent of Christ, celebrating the coming of the Messiah to this world, Mary was the woman who bore a son that was truly the Son of God. The Church certainly has affirmed that Christ had a human nature, and also that Christ had a divine nature, but Mary was the mother who bore the child who was God Incarnate. Rome looks at this to mean that the angel Gabriel is recognizing in Mary a woman who is filled with such grace that she can be a vessel of grace to other people. However, the Protestant interpretation of this text is that Mary is not the mother of grace, but she is the daughter of grace. She is not the one who bestows grace, but she is the one who receives grace. When the angel Gabriel says, "Hail Mary full of Grace", it means that Mary, among all women that has ever lived, was selected to be the mother of the Christ child, not because she had earned it, but because she received the gracious favor of God. “The Lord is with you Mary, and blessed are you among women”. Mary, the model of submission, brings to this scenario her total surrender to the messenger saying, “Let it be to me according to your word”.
Mary bore the One whose obedience earned for us sufficient merit to fill the demands of God upon us for righteousness. Mary's obedience adds nothing to that merit. Mary is not a redeemer. She is the mother of our Redeemer. We understand that, and also that she displayed an example of willing submission and obedience to the commandments of God.
Do you have a willing submission and obedience to the commandments of God? Do you have a willing submission to God's dealings with you in your life? We would do well to follow Mary's example. She submitted willingly to God's demands upon her. When we struggle to follow God's way instead of our own, we submit to God, and like Mary we say, "Let it be according to your ways, Lord, and not our own". We can be confident then that it is always for the greater good that we are engaged by God's Holy Spirit to carry out a life of service and obedience.