Letting Mary In

This semester in the seminary, I took an elective class because I already satisfied one of the required courses. It was a class in the anthropology of Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II. Anthropology is when you study what makes us human. So, I thought, this will be great, anything by Pope John Paul II would be great. I hoped I could understand it.

So, the professor started out laying out what he expected would happen in the course. There would be a lot of reading in Karol Wojtyla’s most complicated books, and there were no tests or quizzes or finals. Only one final, 15-page paper.

So, of course what happens? Well, all the other classes that are not nearly as interesting but have papers and tests and quizzes during the semester get right up there on the priority list, and the class that has all the good but really hard stuff ends up dead last on my priority list. So, classes go by, and the professor is covering the material, and I’m following along as best I can because I haven’t read anything.

So the end of the semester starts to get close, and I realize, you know, I don’t think I’ve had time to read much of anything in this class. I started thinking about dropping the class. One day after class, I was talking again with the professor about that one consistent theme I was noticing, and I told him, “You know, I have to confess, I haven’t done much of the reading.” He said, “Oh, don’t worry, I don’t think anyone has.” That gave me the confidence to write about this one consistent theme I was catching onto:


So, I wrote about Mary and the Pope and his anthropology. It was the best paper I have ever written. I finished it early and it was a few pages longer than what was expected. There will be an A on the report card next to anthropology. Here I was a few weeks earlier standing there with nothing at all, seeing no way to go and thinking, that’s it, this makes no sense to continue. Then, I let Mary in. And everything changed. It went from course drop to A.

I think back on the time when Joseph was engaged to Mary, and he found out she was pregnant. He’s probably thinking, “I am not prepared for this, it is beyond me. Forget this, it’s time to bail on this one. Divorce her and go our separate ways, it’s too much.” Course drop.

That’s when the angel came to him and told him not to be afraid to let Mary in, because the Holy Spirit was working in her. So he did. And everything changed. Now, he’s the model husband, the patron of the whole Church. How many people know who he is and love him, how many miracles of God has he gotten? Now, he is Saint Joseph. His life went from course drop to A. When he let in Mary.

On Christmas Eve, a cold dark cave is all that would let Mary in. I don’t know exactly what was there, I do know it was a cave and there were animals and a manger. I imagine times I’ve been around animals at farms, and I imagine that it was like that, except inside a cave. What is hard to imagine is staying there and delivering a child there. That’s course drop territory. But Mary came in, and that cave turned into God’s home. People have spent a thousand years trying to reproduce that one little cave, because Mary was let into it. It’s not a cold cave anymore: now it’s God’s home. When Mary is let in, everything changes.

There may be situations in life where you feel unprepared to handle what life is giving, you may be thinking all you’ve got is a cold cave on the inside and it only makes sense to drop the course. But if you let Mary in, she will bring Someone else with her, and that cold cave will become God’s home.

Because when Mary is let in, everything changes.

A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ez 36:26)

Merry Christmas!


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