On an Advent wreath the four Sundays of the Season are represented by one pink and three purple candles. There is also a white candle that represents the Christ Child that is lit on Christmas Eve. The pink candle that is lit on the third Sunday of Advent, or Rose Sunday, is the day we honor Jesus’ mother Mary.
For many years we have done “Voices of Mary” on Rose Sunday, and it’s one of my favorite events that we have at Saint Mary Anne’s. I have had the privilege of participating many times and have enjoyed it tremendously. I started out years ago as one of the more youthful versions of Mary but have now progressed to one of the much older versions!
The reflections from Mary’s life start with her as an innocent little girl full of life, love and hope. It continues on with Mary as an adolescent and when she is told by an angel that she has been chosen by God to bear his only begotten son. Next, Mary is portrayed at the time just after the birth of her child, our Savior, and she is filled with love and wonder at the miraculous baby that she has borne. Eventually, Mary is seen as a middle-aged woman who worries about her beloved child and his path in life. She is concerned about the ruthless people who see him as a threat to their power by his teachings and ministries. She worries tremendously for his safety. All the phases of Mary’s life reflections are narrated by an old and wise version of Mary. A mother who has known the greatest joy and the greatest sorrow a woman can experience. It is this Mary that I got to play the last time we did “Voices of Mary” and of all the times I’ve participated this was by far the hardest and most moving. As the narrator you experience all of the highs and lows that Mary experienced in her lifetime. I found my voice breaking and my eyes tearing as I read her thoughts aloud.
A Mother’s love is the greatest of all loves and Mary’s heart was broken when they crucified her son. Mary’s broken heart humanizes her because everyone can relate to losing someone they love, especially those that have lost a child. The Christmas season can be a terribly emotional time for those that are suffering from grief, addiction or depression. This year in particular will be very hard on many people as the world copes with the pandemic, social justice issues and civil unrest.
As we celebrate and make merry this Advent and Christmas season, let us remember and reach out to comfort those that are suffering emotionally during this time.