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Mary as a Wife, Rather than Solely a Mother

alec vanderboom

During my anniversary week, I kept thinking about Mommy Mary as a wife. I focus so much on her being a Mother to Jesus and to myself. As a chaste virgin, however, she didn't choose to be a mother as much as she chose to be a wife. That's startling to me because I don't concentrate on being a wife nearly as much as I focus on being a good mother.

Yet, before the Annunciation, Mommy Mary promised to be a wife to St. Joseph. Because of her Immaculate Conception, she is uniquely qualified to do anything for God. She's humanity's brightest star.

You can't tell me that a woman who was so virtuous and so beautiful didn't have her pick of suitors. She probably even had seriously virtuous Jewish guys after her hand--not like the rabble I dated before my husband. She could have married anyone. She could have married a rich guy and given money to the poor. She could have married a freedom fighter and worked to cast off the yoke of the oppressive Romans. She could have married a Talmundic scholar and spent her days praying at the Holy Temple in Jerusalum.

She had all of this grace, all of this potential. Yet she is one with God. God loves the humble. So she loves the humble. Mary is chaste. She's not taken with St. Joe's beefy carpenter arms. She loved his soul. She loves his work. She loves that this poor man of good stock (the family of King David himself) is trying to be a man Holy Man of Faith against all odds.

Which pretty much comes down to the mantra in my mind that Mary thought the greatest work for God was not spending her life as a prayerful hermit, or building the world's first hospital--love of God was best shown by washing St. Joseph's underwear!

That's shocking to me, because I live her life. I wash my husband's underwear. I cook him meatloaf from the ground beef I bought on sale at Wal-Mart. I wash the floors and clean the bathroom mirrors. I give a comforting hug when a customer is displeased with the handiwork he spent so much time carefully perfecting. I'm there at 6:35 AM when my husband leaves for work. I'm there at 6:05 PM when he comes home. Day in day out, I'm his best friend, his cushion, his confidant.

In this 11th year of marriage, in the middle of caring for five needy children,  I'm trying to get back to that core sense of vocation that Mommy Mary never doubted. I'm a wife--and that is important work for God.