Silent Night

A new title for Mary, and one that is quite expedient, is "The Silent Mother."

Striking in the Gospels is the silence of Mary. After several significant scenes, we find the Blessed Mother rather reserved. When the Angel Gabriel announces to her that she will conceive and bear a son, she simply says, “Be it done unto me.” The angel departs and there are no more words we hear spoken by Mary. Nothing is recorded of her during the birth at Bethlehem, and when Simeon prophesies during the Presentation of the Temple that a sword of sorrow will pierce her heart, Mary does not respond. Likewise in the face of suffering, the Blessed Mother walks silently alongside her son through Jerusalem to Calvary. Nor did Mary ever respond and take offense at her son’s sayings. There is no rebuttal from the Blessed Mother after the finding in the temple when Jesus says, “Did you not know I must be at my father’s house?” At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry during the wedding feast of Cana, Mary ignores the quip, “Woman, what is it to me? My hour has not yet come.” Nor does she retort when, asking to see her son, Jesus responds, “Who is my mother? Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my mother.”

Holiness is present in silence. How often is silence, and thereby holiness, threatened? We are recipients of an unfair critique or a sharp comment. Our immediate reaction is to respond back. We are in a gossipy conversation and add our own fodder to fit in. Advent is an opportunity to remain silent, as the Virgin Mother was silent, and so grow in holiness. The silent night is, indeed, a holy night.

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