|Downton Abbey's Head Housemaid, Anna|
Handmaid - what does it mean? The Greek word is doule - meaning servant, slave girl. That is how our Blessed Mother, who possessed more grace than all the saints and angels combined - understood herself. And there was nothing derogatory about it.
There is no shame in being a servant; it is part of reality. That same word (in its masculine form, doulos) is used in the Bible for Moses, Joshua, David, and Jesus! That's right, God became man to make himself a servant, the Servant (Is 52:13-53:12). Listen to our Lord:
- "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." (Mk 9:35)
- "Who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves." (Lk 22:27)
- "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you." (Jn 13:14-15)
On Monday, I shared how inspired I have been by Gary Zimak's Listen to Your Blessed Mother. Listen to how he brings all of this down to earth:
We view certain tasks and jobs as being “beneath us”. On the other hand, Mary understood and embraced her role as God’s handmaid. She made her proclamation without any qualifications whatsoever. She was the Lord’s servant in all circumstances, not just the favorable ones. The details didn’t really matter to her. What was important was that she was willing to do anything that God asked of her. That’s exactly what a good and faithful servant does.