Mama Mary and the Art of the Ordinary

Taking the advice of a priest during a Confession I made recently, I’ve been trying to pray the Rosary by myself with more frequency.

So far, I think I’m being consistent with the act of praying the Rosary itself, but I think I need to put more effort into living the more ordinary aspects of my life well. Such a thing is something I find difficult, particularly as I aspire to be a good artist, a road with a brand of difficulty that has temptations toward pride and lust most frequently pestering me everyday.

See, in trying to be an artist (like, in the more general sense and not just in the visual art sense), I’ve realized that it’s easy to mishandle confidence and have it power the other deadly sins and its subordinates, especially when that confidence is aimed at fulfilling some good intentions. Not that confidence is not needed, though, but it’s easy to be overconfident, especially with a crowd of supporters backing me up and all of us having baseness that we tend to fall for in our desire for more ease in our lives. To be more specific, what God would want us to do can grate hard on our pride, making it look like something as bad as sin, and I’m certain that it’ll be a struggle for me to stay properly confident despite being despised and such. Pride is scary that way, you know?

For getting me to think more about that, I have an aunt of mine to thank very much. How she managed to do so, well, in her talks with me about the dangers of pride, she presented the Blessed Virgin Mary as a good example of humility. Ah, and even the priest who advised me to pray the Rosary also helped there, stating that where Mary is, the Devil isn’t.

Now, thinking about Mama Mary as a good example of humility, what I remember about her is that she was very…well, ordinary. She lived a very ordinary life for a woman who served as the great Mother of God. She and Joseph, her husband, weren’t even that rich too, with the Nativity of Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem being a sign of that (Luke 2:7). And judging from Matthew 13:55, which is a part of the depiction of the reactions that Jesus’ fellow Nazareans had at his preaching (“‘Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary?…'”), Mama Mary was seen as someone ordinary by her fellow Nazareans as well.

And hey, much like how easily a significant bunch of us pity the woman who easily submits – and especially to a man – these days, I think that Mama Mary would be someone who would be very easy to look down on. The prideful would find her pathetic, for she just followed God’s orders and blended into society without much protest, even when she was troubled by the angel Gabriel’s greeting (Luke 1:26-29), even when she and her husband had confusion over the reply that her young Son gave them when they found Him – and after three days of searching, even! – teaching in that temple (Luke 2:42-50), and even when she was told off by her grown-up Son that it was not His time yet in that particular wedding which had a problem with the wine (John 2:1-4) – even telling the servants afterwards to do as He says! She never reacted violently during her Son’s Passion too, just letting Him meet His fated humiliating death in the hands of us sinners and complying with her Son’s entrustment of her to Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist (John 19:26-27), and she still came along with the Apostles to Jerusalem, praying with them as well (Acts 1:12-14).

Now, for an aspiring artist like me to draw inspiration from Mama Mary and to even try living as humbly as her…I honestly found all that unbelievable yet fascinating.

Like, really, for so long, I’ve been thinking that a good artist has to be flashy, much like the superheroes of novels, comic books, and animations. I’ve already come to terms with the fact that I can’t be as superpowered as them, but I still long to be looked upon like I was as sparkling as them, for being revered is something that those superheroes needed to have as well so that they can be more seen as heroic.

And that’s why being like the idols on the stages of the entertainment industry became quite a wonderful idea to me as well. Thing is, though, as that same aunt of mine reminded me about, fame is quite a fickle thing, and with that in mind, desiring it so much is bad for my soul.

But what does that mean for me as an aspiring artist, then? Does this mean that I shouldn’t be an artist? Are artists just burdens to society?

If you ask me, well…I don’t think being an artist means being a burden. After all I’ve been through in life, I’ve realized that perhaps there are ways to be a truly humble artist, and that I’ve been holding so much pride, so much that I still struggle with finding those ways. Perhaps I should try rapping with toned-down swagger. Perhaps I should focus on singing less angsty songs. And perhaps I shouldn’t aim towards notching up the sexiness in my adorkableness, even!

Along with that, I shouldn’t think about having a good image only. Even if no other human is watching me, I, along with everyone else, am always within the watch of God, after all, so I still need to think, speak, and act properly, even in private. And I need to work hard towards being more proper there, especially since I still have some bigtime fumbles with my spare time. If I improve there, then I’ll be able to handle having fans better, because being famous is like walking on a tightrope, and I need more balance in my life.

Yeah, there’s more to life than just trying to entertain people. I still lack knowledge, so I need to go to school. I have struggles processing others’ opinions, especially when they’re vocally opposing, so I need to keep calm and search for humbler listeners to talk with and learn from. I need to be more mindful of others as well, which means that I also have to smack my pride down and take corrections from people like my parents better. And like it or not, even if I’m the protagonist of my own story, my growth is never something I cause by keeping the spotlight all to myself.

Come to think of it, though, I think I’m centering on myself too much in writings like this lately, with a bunch of previous paragraphs in this entry being a likely example…Hm, I guess I should take some time to get in touch with some good friends and mentors when it comes to such matters, then. Also, I think this is the first time I’m writing Bible citations into something like this, and I don’t think I can say that I know how to do that as well as I should yet, so yes, honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated!

And hey, God Almighty keep on helping us all! And don’t underestimate Mama Mary, people! Like, really, considering how she lived here on earth, I now think she’s a major factor behind Don Bosco being able to say “Do your ordinary duties extraordinarily well.”

Ah, and I guess I should look for a girl who looks up to Mama Mary as well…

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2 thoughts on “Mama Mary and the Art of the Ordinary

  1. Secret identity is a very interesting element of the superhero mythos. You fought the good battle, yet you are to be scolded by your aunt if your name is Parker, despised as a fool if Wayne, late for work if Allen, ignored by the girl if Kent. The wonder, the fight, the despair, the defeat, the triumph: you went throught all, yet nobody knows. I think it´s similar for Our Lady and it is also for us who are living and fighting in God´s good world.

    In a way, the eye of the artist is like a superpower which makes him a sign for others, part of who he is, somewhat a vocation to foresee, find and bring a sign and bring it to the world. But the real fight is secret, and nobody knows: you can be triumphant yet lose, you can die yet win. To the outside, you can be a flashy character like Prophet Elijah (some fire from the sky, please!) or St. John the Baptist coming out of the desert, or a silent “de incognito” saint like St. Joseph and St. Mary. Our Lord was both the artisan and the miracle-maker, one at a time. The world -biblical sense- is often wrong in distinguishing the ordinary from the extraordinary.

    As for me, I liked the Biblical references -I´ve always thought, by the way, that John 2:1-4 and Matthew 17: 24 may be some kind of jokes by Our Lord to St. Mary and St. Peter-. And good luck with the girl! There are some great, radiant aspiring saints out there…

    • To be honest, I felt some nervousness upon catching the notif for your comment, especially since I’m trying to go deeper with talking about religious stuff, which I consider one of the most difficult things in my life, because if there’s someone I should be afraid of, that someone is pretty much the Lord, and said fear is upped by my awareness of how easily I trick myself into complacency.

      After reading your comment, though, well, I feel better, blessed, and also challenged! What you talked about there are quite some food for thought, really. The mundane troubles of superheroes are easy to disregard when we’re tuned into expecting and seeing them in superhero action so often, as if their superhero lives are the only things that should matter to them and us. I guess it also works the other way around as well, thinking that the only things that our neighbors can do are what we often see them do. We think we know everything, but again, it’s easy to trick ourselves into complacency. That’s why forming a deep bond with God is essential, no matter what way of life one has. The world will look and even be more beautiful with God, alright!

      So yes, thank you very much for your feedback! Also, your Biblical references also had me thinking about God’s sense of humor some more, something I haven’t been thinking about because of what I’d now like to call “Nazarean Neighbor Mentality.” I’ve been looking at God like He were just some cold and serious guy, see. And hey, thanks very much for the encouragement for my romance life as well! God bless you and give you more worthwhile days, yo! \(^o^)

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