Before diving into this week’s blog post, take a moment to read Mary’s handmaid prayer from the Gospel of St. Luke: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done unto me according to thy word.”
Is being a handmaid a bad thing? Hulu’s popular streaming show The Handmaids Tale would certainly make us think so. “Handmaids”, in this dystopian story are stripped of their constitutional rights and are forced to have the children of their male masters who are unable to conceive with their wives. Clearly, not the kind of stuff that gives you warm fuzzy feelings.
How is it, that this word so eloquently used by Mary in her handmaid prayer, is used here in such dark way? The answer to this question lies in modern society’s misunderstanding of humility. When Mary calls herself a handmaid, it is not a prayer of weakness, but a prayer of strength. Her submission to the will of God is what allows her to take on the mighty role of mother of the Savior. True strength lies in our ability to recognize that we are dependent on God. When we think we are greater than we actually are, we run the risk of denying God’s graces and losing Heaven. The path to true strength in the Lord is filled with contradictions, as Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew: “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”
So to answer our opening question, being a handmaid of the Lord is a beautiful thing. For, to be His handmaid is the only way to finish the race and win eternal happiness. When we realize that humility is the key to the spiritual life, we are one step closer to sainthood.
Our Lady of Humility, pray for us.
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