Mariam the Magnificent
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is special to me and all the other Sisters of Notre Dame. For me, my home parish in Bellevue, Ohio, was titled Immaculate Conception. For all us Sisters, it is the patronal feast of our province, which is the whole United States. Recently I read the chapter titled “Mariam the Magnificent” in Always a Guest by Barbara Brown Taylor, an Episcopal priest. (I highly recommend this book!) The image of Mary I most appreciated in this chapter is this: “the timid teenager who is blessed, the one who accepts Gabriel’s proposal when he comes on God’s behalf to ask for her hand.” The author suggests that Protestants prefer the timid, quiet Mary. Yet she goes on to write about the outspoken Mary as seen in her prophetic Magnificat, along with the “chutzpah to question the angel Gabriel when he presents her with God’s plan.” The author continues: “Depending on what she says (all you can do is ask), her answer could be the best verse yet in the song God has been singing since Sinai: ‘I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people’ (Lev. 26:12 NIV).