Mary: Speaking words of wisdom

By Julianne Stanz | For The Compass | May 7, 2020

“When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me” begins the famous song, “Let It Be,” by the Beatles. Written originally for Paul McCartney’s mother, Mary, the song became a smash-hit. McCartney came to realize just how many people from different backgrounds and cultural perspectives identified Mary in the song as the Blessed Mother. During this month dedicated to Mary, let’s take some phrases from this famous Beatles song and reflect upon the life of our heavenly mother.

In times of trouble

Mary was a woman who knew intense suffering. She witnessed the crowds turn their hearts from Jesus and convict him as a criminal knowing that he was an innocent, spotless victim. She endured the pain of watching her only beloved son Jesus, the Messiah, die an excruciating death before her eyes. Yet, she was faithful and embraced God’s plan for her life without hesitation. Mary reminds us that our journey of life is not a sprint, but a marathon of faithfulness. When we find ourselves in times of trouble, Mother Mary is there with us, walking with us, providing comfort to us and pointing us to her son Jesus.

Speaking words of wisdom

Mary speaks only four times in the Bible — during the Annunciation, when she speaks with the angel Gabriel; when she went “with haste” to visit Elizabeth; when she sings her hymn of praise known as the Magnificat; when she scolds Jesus after she believes him to be lost in the Temple; and at the Wedding of Cana.

Each time she speaks, she does so with complete trust in God, revealing herself to be a wise woman, grounded in prayer. Wisdom is a gift of the Holy Spirit and comes in listening to the Lord. Despite the fact that we live in a “world of mouth,” with the relentless noise of the culture bombarding us, wisdom comes in speech through simplicity of heart and devotion to God, as Mary reminds us.

She is standing right next to me

Mary journeys with us — just like she did for Elizabeth and just as she did for her son Jesus. Mary proves to us that she will always be with us, standing right next to us, whether it is for an hour of darkness or through the despair of difficult times. She will journey with us no matter what difficult situation we find ourselves in and lead us to her son.

The broken-hearted people

Who hasn’t had their heart broken at some point in life? It can be one of the most upsetting and difficult experiences that we go through. The line from this song that often stands out to many is the phrase “when the broken-hearted people, living in the world agree.” Today, we may be seem to be more divided than ever — politically, socio-economically and spiritually — but there is still so much goodness in the world despite all of the heartache we endure. Mary teaches us that hearts can be mended with time, openness and the merciful love of God our Father.

Mother Mary comes to me

At night, our family prays together and the first time we asked our 5-year-old Sean-Patrick to pray the “Hail Mary,” we chuckled as he earnestly prayed as follows: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with me.” Mary witnesses to what my son’s little prayer-slip reveals to be true — yes, the Lord is with me and also with you, with all of us. Mary brings each one of us to her son and centers her life, not on herself but on God as she sings, “May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). Mary, as the first and best disciple, reminds us to be open and attentive to God’s plan, especially during these uncertain days. Let it be, indeed.

Stanz is director of Parish Life and Evangelization for the Diocese of Green Bay and author of “Start with Jesus: How Everyday Disciples Will Renew the Church,” from Loyola Press.

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