THE HUMILITY OF THE THEOTOKOS
(September 21, OC Nativity of the Theotokos)
“And Mary said: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has looked upon the humility of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed… He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the humble…” (Lk 1:46-48, 51b-52)
The Lord had “looked upon” this poor, thirteen or fourteen-year-old Jewish orphan named Mary. And she felt it with all her soul, after the Archangel Gabriel told her that she had “found favor with God,” Who was inviting her to accept a new, extraordinary job position in the whole business of His divine oikonomia or house-building. The “proud” and the “mighty” were being “scattered” and “put down,” while she, in her humility, was being exalted. Who were the proud and the mighty in her life, who were being diminished, as she accepted her unusual job? For one thing, men were being excluded from a job that had, until now, invariably involved a man. She did need and accept the help of a man, the righteous Joseph, but he was not even told about her new position, which was news that she chose to share only with her relative, Elisabeth.
Is this what “humility” looks like, we Orthodox women might ask ourselves; the Most Holy Theotokos, in her early teens, rejoicing that God has “looked upon” her, and that “henceforth all generations” will praise her, while He “put down” the proud and mighty in her midst? Yes. Humility is a gentle realism that recognizes both God’s blessings and the empowerment He brings us through them, along with one’s own limitations and even powerlessness, outside of Him. Help us and enlighten us, Most Holy Theotokos, by Your prayers, humbly to seek only God’s “look” upon us, that we may recognize and open up to the abundant grace He has on offer, for all of us.