This is the image of Mary given pride of place in Sacred Heart schools throughout the world. Whenever I used to consider this quiet, serene girl, lost in God knows what thoughts, I often felt that her title Mater Admirabilis - Admirable Mother - seemed too weighty for someone so young and fragile; too heavy a burden for those slender shoulders.
"Maybe that's what makes her admirable", replied someone to whom I said this, "the fact that she was so young and yet said yes to so much."
And maybe, too, what makes Mary admirable is the fact that she never set out to be! She was an ordinary young woman who responded to an extraordinary call, not with drama or long speeches, but with great simplicity and just a few words to express what was in her heart. She was content that all generations would call her blessed because God had done great things in her - but she didn't expect to be called admirable.
May Mary pray for all of us, that no matter how young or old, fragile or otherwise we might feel, we too have the grace and strength to say yes to whatever God is asking of us: not because we want to be admirable, but simply because we want to say yes...
Adapted from a reflection written by Silvana Dallanegra RSCJ, which first appeared on her blog All this life and heaven too