Dean of Identity | Mr Charles Brauer
“A Truer Image”
This week we celebrated the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary through our Tuesday Morning Mass, kindly hosted by our Year 7 Magee and Treacy students. Not only was this occasion a special time for our Church and Terrace Family, it was also an important time for us to consider the life of Mary and the extraordinary role she played in the formation of our Church.
Fr Gerard’s homily with regards to Mary being the first disciple, embarking on the first missionary journey of our Church, was a key message for our gathering. Today I’d like to share with you another key message regarding Mary. The following is a reflection from Elizabeth Jonhson, CSJ on the reconceptualisation of Mary. I was drawn to the reflection’s challenge to recognise both the joys and struggles that Mary would have faced.
Miriam of Nazareth is a young Jewish woman from a farming village in Roman-occupied Galilee. This means that economically, she knows what it means to be poor. Roman land practices and taxation policies exploited village people, tipping more and more of them into destitution. Politically, her society is turbulent, wracked by violence from an unjust Jewish king (Herod) and an oppressive foreign army. Socially, this young woman inhabits a low rung on the ladder of class, probably uneducated as is the case with peasant women of her time and place. ... and even today. In a word, at the time of this canticle Mary is simply a nobody on the world stage. We owe a debt to women theologians of the two-thirds world who have noticed the similarities between Mary’s life and the multitudes of so many poor women today, who struggle to live a dignified human life against vast odds whether in rural or urban settings. Both dwell in poverty due to structural injustices; both inhabit worlds organized around the idea of masculine superiority and the inhibition of women’s gifts; indigenous women suffer added indignities due to their racial heritage and culture. Awareness in these women grows: Mary is one of us, they say, and we learn from them. It does Mary no honor to rip her out of her historical circumstances and transform her into an icon of peaceful, middle-class life robed in royal blue.
My soul proclaims your greatness, O my God, and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior. For your regard has blessed me, poor, and a serving woman. From this day all generations will call me blessed, for you, who are mighty, have done great things for me; and holy is your Name. (Luke 1: 46 – 48)