The gospels furnish us with relatively few details about Mary.  After the return of the holy Family from Egypt their lives are shrouded in almost complete silence.  The only exceptions are the presentation in the temple and, later, the finding of Jesus in the temple.

During Jesus’ public life Mary was very much in the background.  She is mentioned only a handful of times.  But those few times are sufficient to know she was always close to Jesus. One of the most striking things about that relationship is Mary’s silence.

Mary’s life was a life of pure faith.  Again and again she had to reaffirm that faith.  Each time it was with greater difficulty.  Sometimes Mary is compared to Abraham, who is called our father in faith.  The call for Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, is seen as a figure, a foreshadowing of Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary.  But more was demanded of Mary’s faith.

It was only through faith that Mary could deal with the question of who Jesus really was and what he was about.  Sometimes popular piety and imagination can mislead us, almost with out our being aware of it.  We can focus on Jesus’ divine nature and think of him as the all-knowing and omnipotent second person of the Trinity, hiding under the appearance of a human being.  That does not do justice to his humanity.  Neither scripture nor the teaching of the Church supports such a view.  Surely Mary did not see Jesus in that way.  She had seen him in all the helplessness and total dependence of an infant.  She had seen him grow and gradually develop from childhood to adolescence to maturity.  Only through faith could she accept him for who he truly was, truly divine and truly human.

The demands on Mary’s faith seem only to have increased with time.  She had  to bear the pain of seeing him outgrow her loving care, as does every mother.  Again and again Jesus seemed to leave his mother behind to feel that sword of sorrow pierce her heart as Simeon had foretold.  Until, at last, he seemed to sever the very bond of sonship by appointing another, the man beside her on Calvary, to take his place as son.

Even then Mary accepted what her son was saying and doing with compete confidence, no matter the cost.  Though not fully understanding, she never lost heart, never faltered in her faith commitment, even during those terrible hours of his suffering and death.