“The Holy Spirit will come upon you” (Luke 1:35)
Mother Mary guides us to the power of the Holy Spirit
Fr Augustine Vallooran, VC
Mother Mary is the one appointed by God to guide us to receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. In the New Testament, she is the first person to receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Even at the Pentecost the apostles received the anointing of the Holy Spirit when they were praying together with Mother Mary.
The Holy Spirit power
Before ascending to the right hand of the Heavenly Father, Jesus instructed the apostles to be His ambassadors to ‘the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8). They had to continue the mission of Jesus by healing the sick, casting out evil and proclaiming the message of salvation. The apostles were very simple, ordinary men and they were puzzled how they would be able to do that.
This is when the Lord promised them that He would send the Holy Spirit upon them. The Holy Spirit will give them the power for their world-wide mission. Jesus also explained that to receive the Holy Spirit they must wait together and pray (Acts 1:4,5). The apostles went to the Upper Room and “devoted themselves with one accord to prayer together with Mary the mother of Jesus” (Acts 1:14).
The Mother gathers the apostles to pray
The motherly love of Mary enabled the apostles to be united and to be in prayer. Before this the apostles were neither united, nor were they able to pray. We remember how when Jesus went through agony in the garden of Gethsemane, though the Lord repeatedly requested the disciples to pray, they could not. They slept instead (Matthew 26:41,42). The Bible also describes the disciples would argue with each other over who was greater among them (Luke 9:44-46). In the presence of Mother Mary, these apostles were able to devote themselves in prayer single-mindedly.
The Mother’s example
She was able to guide and inspire them to surrender to God. This is because she herself was completely surrendered to God. She never once said ‘no’ to God. When the angel of God spoke to her for the first time, Mother Mary accepted God’s will for her life, declaring that she was humble handmaid of the Lord. She wanted only what God wanted for her.
The angel told her that she must be the mother of the Son of God. At that time she was not yet married. She did not know how this could happen. She was also deeply troubled because in those days the people would stone to death women who were pregnant before marriage. It was at that moment that the angel of God offered her the promise of the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you,” angel Gabriel said (Luke 1:35). She accepted God’s plan for her life and received the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
The blessings of total obedience
Mother Mary shows us the way to be anointed with the Holy Spirit. The only way to receive this anointing is the way of total surrender to God - becoming servants of the Lord. This is the message of Mother Mary for all times. Even at the wedding of Cana, she told the family members and the servants to “Do whatever Jesus tells you to” (John 2). The only way to experience the power of God in our lives is to become totally obedient to Jesus.
Mother Mary’s message to us
Mother Mary points to us the way to experience the power of the Holy Spirit. We are often guided by our own will and desire. We do not allow God to come too close to us. For Mother Mary the Holy Spirit was the source of her life. Everything she did was as God wanted her to. She was united with God even when she was on this earth. All those who surrendered their lives to God found Him so close to them that life itself was all about God. St Paul expressed this intense union with the Lord as saying “For me to live is Christ” (Gal 2:20). For St Peter, Jesus was the very reason for his life that he declared “I love you more than everything else.” Let us be faithful children of Mother Mary as the apostles were. When we surrender ourselves to the Lord we too will be strong in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Thank you, Lord, for the promise of your Spirit to anoint us and guide our way in this world. For your mother, life was totally surrendered to the Heavenly Father. She was anointed by the Holy Spirit and she was able to be the handmaid of God doing the Father’s will at every moment. Her surrender to God was so total that there was no dark moment of sin in her life. She is the Morning Star showing us the way to commit our lives to you in the power of the Spirit. May we too be anointed with the same Spirit that we may fulfill the role you have given us in the history of salvation. Amen.