Anyone who has worked with children or who has children can readily accept that with children there are two kinds of questions. One kind of question is essentially meant to challenge the adult. By the tone and the demeanor of the child, one quickly gathers that the child is not actually interested in an answer. Instead, it becomes obvious that the child’s question is a kind of rebellion, one meant to undermine the adult’s authority.
The second kind of question is completely different. This question arises from a deep longing within the child, the longing to understand. Instead of being confrontation, this kind of question is a form of surrender. In this manner, the child has an open disposition, one built on trust and dependence.
It is this second kind of questioning that is the hallmark of the Virgin Mary’s life. Throughout the Gospels, Mary questions God the Father, Jesus the Incarnate Word, and the Angels with a simplicity and directness that is the hallmark of authentic contemplation. Her questioning is not meant to challenge or supplant, but rather she opens herself to receiving everything that God has to offer.
When taken within the context of dogma, particularly the dogma that teaches that she was free from original sin as well as perfect in her moral life, her questioning gets elevated to a new level. Questioning now becomes not simply a necessary consequence of the fall, but rather the fundamental disposition that God desires from human beings. We see in Mary that God wants us to question him. He wants us to ponder and probe the depths of salvation with the same docility and desire that Mary showed.
One of the saddest consequences for people who live outside of communion with God is they stop asking the deep questions of life. Instead of piercing the façade of this world and discovering the beauty and joy that lies just below the surface, people settle for illusions and false gods. We are made to seek the deep questions of life, questions about what is good, true, and beautiful. We are made to contemplate these realities with the zeal of a saint, but too often we have become intoxicated by the surface pleasures of this world.
Today, let us have the courage to question the Father about the important things of life. Why am I here, doing what I do? What is the goal of my life? What is the path to true happiness? In all of these, let us question and then be open to receive everything that the Father wants to offer.