Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Highly Favored of the Lord

"Many prophets had known of Mary’s vital role in the plan of salvation. Her mission had been recorded throughout ancient scripture. (See Isa. 7:14; 1 Ne. 11:13–20; Mosiah 3:8; Alma 7:10.)

From the angel Gabriel, who was sent from God to declare glad tidings to her, Mary learned that she was the one to fulfill these ancient prophecies.

The angelic messenger declared, “Hail, thou virgin, who art highly favored of the Lord. The Lord is with thee, for thou art chosen and blessed among women” (JST, Luke 1:28).

Following the announcement, Mary had a simple inquiry: “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34). Mary’s question was not one of reticence or doubt. She was sincerely curious about how this was to be, for she was an espoused virgin. Before the angel’s visit, Mary had become espoused to Joseph the carpenter. According to the Jewish custom, this meant only that Mary and Joseph had participated in an espousal ceremony (also known as a “betrothal” or “making sacred the bride”). It was similar to being engaged to be married.

To Mary’s question, the angel answered, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

From this angelic messenger, Mary learned that she was to be the mother of the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. The Child would inherit the physical, mental, and spiritual traits of his parents—one, the glorified God; the other, a worthy, blessed mortal woman.

After receiving the angel’s message, Mary, in complete obedience, replied, “Be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38). In humbly accepting this opportunity of motherhood, Mary shows the obedience of a true disciple."

As I read that passage about Mary, I stopped to think how amazing she must have been as a person, a woman and as a child of God to be chosen to be the mother of our Savoir. What an incredible responsibility placed on her. We too have immense responsiblity as mothers today. I have always felt and believed with my whole heart that motherhood is a divine calling. One of my most favorite talks on motherhood was given by the General Relief Society Presidnt Julie B. Beck last year. She said...

"In the Book of Mormon we read about 2,000 exemplary young men who were exceedingly valiant, courageous, and strong. “Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him” (Alma 53:21). These faithful young men paid tribute to their mothers. They said, “Our mothers knew it” (Alma 56:48). I would suspect that the mothers of Captain Moroni, Mosiah, Mormon, and other great leaders also knew.

"The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance. More than at any time in the history of the world, we need mothers who know. Children are being born into a world where they “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). However, mothers need not fear. When mothers know who they are and who God is and have made covenants with Him, they will have great power and influence for good on their children.

"Who will prepare this righteous generation of sons and daughters? Latter-day Saint women will do this—women who know and love the Lord and bear testimony of Him, women who are strong and immovable and who do not give up during difficult and discouraging times. We are led by an inspired prophet of God who has called upon the women of the Church to “stand strong and immovable for that which is correct and proper under the plan of the Lord.” He has asked us to “begin in [our] own homes” to teach children the ways of truth. Latter-day Saint women should be the very best in the world at upholding, nurturing, and protecting families. I have every confidence that our women will do this and will come to be known as mothers who “knew” (Alma 56:48)."