Just read a very convicting blog post on Internet Monk. Here’s the passage that hit hardest:
Evangelicals tend to ignore or downplay Jesus’ mother, in reaction to what they perceive as overemphasis or even heretical devotion to her by the Roman church and other traditions. However, the Gospel of Luke gives her great honor, portraying her as the true and ultimate matriarch of our faith. Mary joins and surpasses Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah, Ruth, and Hannah, and is presented as the mother through whom God brought his redemption promises to pass.
It is true. I frequently discount Mary so as not to feel or sound too Catholic (not that I hold anything against the Catholic church as a whole, I just don’t believe in all their doctrines). But Mary was perhaps the greatest faith example of a woman in the Bible. I suppose it is wrong to “rank” people in the Bible. They aren’t basketball players. But like the founding fathers of our Nation, there are some that just stand out naturally. I always think of David as being a “man after God’s own heart.” I don’t always think of Mary as the matriarch of our faith, but I should.
I can’t speak for women, but I wonder if some of them consider Mary to be too high of a standard to live up to. Aside from Jesus, I find a similar feeling in relation to Paul. But Paul at least complains about having a thorn in his flesh and being the chief of sinners. (We all know David had periods of detestable sin in his life) But Mary seems pretty near perfect, so you can see how the Catholic faith would revere her.
Still, I think the author of the post puts it best when he says:
Many times throughout her life, the powers of the world overshadowed, pressured, and threatened this woman. yet in her song she expresses what people of faith in all generations have learned—God is not with those who wield earthly power. His heart is with those who look to him in simple faith and entrust their destiny to him.
The example of Mary isn’t of perfection necessarily. You don’t see any cases of her doing anything wrong in the Bible, but I don’t think she’s presented as perfect either. I believe the example of Mary is that of faithfulness and focusing on God, following his will without question. Which is an example we all can learn from, man or woman.