adviento 4: bienvenida
Greetings, favored one! (Luke 1:28)
Mary's story is about recognition. The angel sees Mary's courage, and she in turn sees the hope a child brings.
Mary's faith and courage are clear from the text we read during the final week of Advent. She makes her decision carefully, weighing up the risks involved.
Why is it then that we are often offered a submissive, silent image of Mary? As Brazilian theologian, Wanda Deifelt critiques:
Dominant male attitudes establishes the values and standard behaviour for men: aggressively; virility; success and power. What defines the standards for women is Mary-ness (the cult and idealization of Mary). Mary is the submissive, tranquil, introspective woman, the one that said yes. (Deifelt 2003: 108)
But what did Mary say yes to? Not purity, not submission; but justice and hope. Mary accepted the risks of unmarried motherhood because she longed for justice, because she wanted to sing of God's steadfast love:
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever. (Luke 1. 46-55)
How will we greet the world this week? How will we greet the people and possibilities that come to meet us? And what will we say yes to?
image: by Chicana aritst, Alma Lopez Coyolxauhqui Returns as Our Lady Disguised as La Virgen de Guadalupe to Defend the Rights of Las Chicanas, Acrylic on Canvas, 24" x 24", 2004 www.almalopez.net. For the merging (and domesticating) of Latin American goddess figures with Mary see:
Anzaldúa, Gloria (1987) Borderlands/ La Frontiera: The New Mestiza San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books
Deifelt, Wanda (2003) “María ¿una santa protestante?” en RIBLA46 (2003/3) Quito: RECU/ Editorial DEI, pp. 98-112.
This weeks readings can be read here.