I just wanted to share a thought a friend of mine posted on her blog, I think it provides a thought-provoking insight into Mary:
"One of the novels I read was Irving Stone's biographical novel of Michelangelo Buonarroti, "The Agony and the Ecstasy". Not an easy to read in a day or two, but a very good book, from which I learned a lot.
One of my favorite thoughts was about Mary, the mother of Christ. You may be familiar with a few of Michelangelo's more famous works, specifically the Sistine Chapel and his Pieta, but I didn't know much about him. In the novel, it portray's a thought process, which I don't know if he actually went through before each work he did, but it did cause me to think, and learn, and I would like to share an excerpt from the book, in regards to Mary and her child, which he has been commissioned to do. He searches through the works of others, trying to get ideas, "not looking for portraiture but for the spirit of motherhood." I pretty much like the entire chapter, but am only going to share a few paragraphs, which are a little lengthy, but something which I would like to have a reference to.
"Striking off into the hills, with the feel of the steep slope under him, he realized that he had not yet come to grips with what he wanted to convey about Mary and her child. He knew only that he wanted to attain something fresh and vital. He fell to nursing about the character and fate of Mary. The Annunciation was a favourite theme of the Florentine painters: the Archangel Gabriel come down from heaven to announce to Mary that she was to bear the Son of God. In all the paintings he remembered, the news seemed to come to her as a complete surprise, and apparently she had been given no choice.
"But could that be? Could so important a task, the most important assigned to any human since Moses, have been forced on Mary without her knowledge or consent? Surely God must have loved Mary above all women on earth to choose her for this divine task? Must He not have told her the plan, related every step of the way from Bethlehem to Calvary? And in His wisdom and mercy have allowed her the opportunity to reject it?
"And if Mary did have freedom of choice, when would she be likely to exercise it? At the Annunciation? When she had borne her child? At the moment of suckling, while Jesus was still an infant? Once she accepted, must she not carry her burden from that moment until the day her child was crucified? Knowing the future, how could she subject her son to such agony? Might she not have said, 'No, not my son, I will not consent. I will not let it happen'? But could she go against the wish of God? When He had appealed to her to help Him? Was ever mortal woman cast in so pain-fraught a dilemma?
"He decided that he would carve Mary at the moment of decision, while suckling her infant, when, knowing all, she must determine the future: for herself; for her child; for the world."
Can you imagine being in Mary's position, knowing what would be required of your son, knowing that you are powerless to prevent His suffering, knowing also that even though you gave Him the gift of life, that He in turn would give His life that we all may have ETERNAL life. It is hard to watch your child hurt in the slightest, I've often thought that I wish I could take their pains away when they hurt or are sick, that I would happily go through it in place of them, how great a woman she was to know what was required, and to say "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word" (Luke 1:38), no wonder she was chosen to be the mother of the Savior. Thank you Mary.