Scripture doesn't seem to tell us much but it really tells us a lot about Mary. Although the words are few, every one of them is packed with meaning. Mary's words and the scenes about Mary speak volumes.
In Luke, the angel comes to Mary to announce that she is to become the mother of Jesus and addresses her as: "highly favoured one" and "blessed among women" and "the Lord is with you." Pretty powerful phrases, I'd say.
She is told more about her mission and who her child will be. A frightening message to a mere mortal, hence the angel's warning "Do not fear." Mary questions how this is to take place; then freely assents "Let it be done to me according to your word."
Mary's faith is often contrasted with Zechariah's doubt. She didn't question the possibility of the angel's word being fulfilled as did Zechariah. There is indeed something special about this woman.
Although a young woman, she undertook, it seems by herself, an arduous journey to visit her cousin. Elizabeth calls her "blessed among women" and the "mother of my Lord." Again, powerful phrases.
Mary's canticle praising God for all that has been accomplished in her and God's mercy towards the poor, the lowly and needy remains one of the most loved texts of the New Testament and is used daily in the Evening Prayer of the Church. A picture of a woman full of hope for the future, expressing her convictions without compromise and without fear.
Inspired Scriptures recount the essence of Mary's life lived in, with and for Jesus in faithful response to God's will.
After the shepherds report what they had seen, Mary "treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart." Typical mother but also a woman of faith and prayer.
At Jesus' presentation, Simeon told Mary a sword of sorrow would pierce her heart revealing her future as the mother of the Saviour. We know nothing of her reaction, which we can hardly begin to guess.
It was Mary who "scolded" Jesus when he remained in the Temple. Mary "treasured in her heart" Jesus' response "Didn't you know that I had to be about my Father's business." Another piece of the puzzle about Jesus' destiny and Mary's faith-filled acceptance of her role.
When Jesus was told that his mother and brothers were there to see him, he answered, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and keep it." Another time, someone shouted, "Blest is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you." Jesus responded, "Rather blest are they who hear the word of God and keep it."
These are not put-downs of Mary, but emphasize Mary's faith as being more than her motherhood. We hear in this that it is not our circumstances in life that determine who we are but our faithfulness to God's will.
Do whatever he tells you
In John's Gospel, Mary appears at the beginning and at the end, both very meaningful times. Mary prompts Jesus' first miracle by drawing his attention to the lack of wine at the wedding. "Do whatever he tells you" is her message to the waiters, to each of us and to the world. John 19 shows Mary at the crucifixion being given to him as his mother. The Church takes this to mean that Mary is given to us as our mother too.
In Acts, Mary is mentioned (1:14) as being present with the disciples at Pentecost. So, there she is at the central moment of the Church's foundation with the coming of the Holy Spirit to be our sustenance.
The Church believes that a variety of Scripture texts refer to Mary from the first book in the Bible to the last. From Genesis saying there will be enmity between the offspring of the woman and the evil one to Revelation with the woman clothed with the sun and crowned with 12 stars.
Others, such as Isaiah 7:14-15, a sign is promised of a virgin bearing a child who shall be called Immanuel are taken to refer to Mary.
Inspired Scriptures recount the essence of Mary's life lived in, with and for Jesus in faithful response to God's will. Mary is present in all the crucial moments of the life of Jesus and of the Church.
We see a strong and reflective woman with a deep faith and steadfast commitment to her role as the mother of Jesus, the mother of God, the mother of the universal Church and mother to each of us, members of the body of her Son.