Mary Seat of Wisdom: Mary is right in the midst of the Christian community, and her humanity and wisdom restores the confidence, courage and trust in the lives of women.

Begin with Prayer then Read Psalm 92:12-15a

The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of God. In old age they are still vigorous and produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap, proclaiming that the Lord is just; he is my rock.

Read the Scripture again quietly to yourself. Notice a word, phrase, or sense that touches you.

Read the reflection

Mary, Seat of Wisdom 

Hello, it’s so nice to be back with you again. I hope you have all survived the lockdown and all it’s consequences – particularly for young families with children at home. I’ve come across an image of a woman based on Psalm 92 – “Vigorous, even in old age, still fresh and green, they proclaim that the Lord is just.”

It’s a marvellous portrayal of Mary – Seat of Wisdom and it’s quite challenging, because, we see no longer the girl of the Annunciation, but a woman who’s lived through complex times, raised a family, coped with the grief of losing a husband, and ultimately, the enormous challenge of the cross and the confusion of Jesus as a young man and having Him follow the call of God to the crucifixion and then ultimately Pentecost and the birth of the new Church.

So this woman has lived through contradictions, much the same as our lives face, especially for millions of the world’s women, who are also very poor. In this statue, we see a wiser woman, with renewed faith after Pentecost, helping the first Christian community receive the Holy Spirit, because she has been living under the power of the Spirit from the moment of the Annunciation.

So instead of being seen in an isolated niche to be prayed to, this Mary, woman of wisdom, is seen once again in the midst of the Christian community, facing the altar table of her Son and praying with the community. Many are rediscovering, in this older Mary, the humanity and wisdom that restores their confidence, courage and trust in life. When you are mothering babies and young children, it can be incredibly comforting to have a wise, older woman-friend, – a sister, a mother, an aunt, a neighbour – someone who represents the seat of wisdom for you. And it’s very legitimate, to ask Mary, to help you find that woman of wisdom, and also ask her directly, to be that woman of wisdom for you. And then also, that if you are further along the road than some of the young mothers around you, perhaps you are even a grandmother now, be aware that we are to be as Mary, and we are ourselves, to be women of wisdom, women of worship, women of the Spirit, women who reach out in care, and tenderness from the contradictions and the complications and the experience of our own life, to bring the focus back to Christ, and to hold the hand of all around us, who may need to know the beauty, the love, the joy and the power of the risen Christ. As women, as mothers, as aunties, as religious, may we be ‘vigorous even in old age, still fresh and green, they proclaim that the Lord is just.’

God bless – I hope to be able to get around the country soon and see some of you.
by Bev McDonald

Discussion Starters

What strikes you most from the reflection or Scripture?

  • Have you ever thought of Mary as an older woman? How does that portrayal appeal to you or challenge your relationship with Mary?
  • The reflection is of a woman who has integrated real messy life with faith. Why is being ‘real’ about life so helpful today?
  • Who has been a woman mentor for you? What was it about her that enabled you to receive her wisdom and life experience so well?
  • When have you been a support to younger women or new mothers in that way?

Conclude by Praying for Each Other’s needs

Then pray this final prayer together               

O Mary, our mother, our sister, our mentor, our friend, teach us to turn to Jesus for His wisdom in our lives.

Pray for us as women, mothers and women of faith in all our needs. Help us to find and recognize wise caring women as we live in the real world of contradictions with faith and hope.

Pray for a constant renewing of our openness to the Holy Spirit, so that we in turn may reach out to support and encourage the women around

St Anne, mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus, pray for us.