A Characteristics of Mary’s faith
Mary’s faith is ﬁrst of all an act of submission: Here I am! Since all is the grace of God it is natural that she renders all thanks to God in offering her entire being. Her faith is also an act of obedience: “I am the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38). Mary enters into God’s plan, accepts her formidable vocation and task of being the Mother of God. With this magniﬁcent service she also accepts the distress of an abnormal situation of being a virgin mother who will have to bear the criticism of her immediate relatives, and the confusion of Joseph her husband (cf. Mt 1: 18-21). All this is accepted in perfect obedience to the will of God. Mary does not discuss or reason it out but commits herself to her Master.
Mary’s faith is ﬁnally an act of trust: “Let it be unto me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). After a moment of confusion at the greeting of the angel, Mary accepted her messianic motherhood; she never doubted the words of the angel, but simply raised the question of how this motherhood could be as she was a virgin (cf. Lk 1:34). When the angel revealed to her that the power of the Most High would overshadow her (cf. Lk 1:35) and that the motherhood of Elizabeth was a sign of the all-powerfulness of God, she completely placed herself in the Lord’s service.
The movement of Mary’s faith is of great simplicity and purity. There is astonishment before the mystery, the acceptance of her motherhood and a question concerning the how of it, but faith and obedience to the Word of God are never wanting. This is the typical progress of a Christian’s faith accepted as pure grace of God. When grace touches the conscience, it ﬁrst arouses astonishment of a natural kind; holding on to the development of grace, the person then asks great questions about faith, until, enlightened by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit (cf. Lk 1:35), he or she enters the life of faith and the service of God by putting all trust in the truth of the Gospel.
Zechariah remained sceptical and demanded a sign after his vision in the temple (Lk 1:18). In spite of the vision and the word of the angel Zechariah doubted whereas Mary accepts and puts her trust in the promise. Zechariah remained a character of the old covenant with a heart slow to believe. But Mary is truly the ﬁrst Christian, the true believer, who enters into God’s plan by the total offering of her whole personality, by obedience and peaceful trust in the Word of the Lord (cf. Lk 1:38).