If Mary had said no…

by Catrin Harland-Davies.

If Mary had said, “No! 
Ain’t no baby going to grow 
inside my womb –  
find some other woman to give house room 
to the Son of God.” 

If Mary had said, “Hey! 
You’ll have to find another way. 
Keep your Spirit off of me 
and find a meeker woman to be 
the mother of God.” 

If she’d sent that angel back to the sky 
I guess young Mary would have passed us by, 
cos be she ever so gentle and ever so good 
I’m betting that without motherhood 
she’d never have made it into Scripture. 
If she wanted to be in the biblical picture 
she’d have to get healed to find her fame, 
and chances are we’d never know her name. 

If Mary had said, “Oi! 
I don’t care what you’re calling the boy, 
he don’t belong in my family –  
he ain’t coming between my Joseph and me, 
that child of God.” 

If Mary had said “No”,  
Gabriel would’ve had to just go 
if God is a God who honours free will 
and doesn’t force co-operation just for the thrill. 
I wouldn’t blame Mary for getting lairy –  
the task ahead must’ve looked proper scary! 


Then would God have found another virgin – 
someone meeker, weaker, with the urge 
inside of her to bear the child, 
someone obedient, gentle, mild – 
if Mary wasn’t willing enough, 
if she’d summoned her feminism, told God “tough”? 

Or would God have reviewed the situation, 
put on hold the incarnation, 
powered down the special star, 
sent the wise men back to lands afar, 
cancelled the booking for the animals’ manger, 
leaving Bethlehem with nothing stranger 
than shepherds warming round a fire –  
a night off for the angel choir, 
a silent night in the Little Town, 
nothing much really going down? 

Perhaps it was good that Mary was mild 
and couldn’t say “No” to bearing the child. 
If she’d had the guts to stand up for her right 
would there be no miracle that Christmas night? 
If she’d stood her ground for womankind, 
would there be no salvation for humankind? 


What if Mary’s ‘passive humility’ 
was really an act of proud femininity? 
What if she willingly claimed her place 
in God’s awesome, astounding act of grace? 
What if her role in that first Advent 
was a confident, assertive act of consent? 
What if she wasn’t being passively ‘good’, 
but striking a blow for the sisterhood? 

Maybe Mary understood 
that God had a plan and the plan was good, 
but that if God was going to save the world, 
what God needed most was a kick-ass girl. 
If earth was going to receive its King 
God needed things only Mary could bring. 
No use coming top in any meekness tests – 
What was needed was a womb and a pair of breasts, 
and a woman’s courage and a hell of a faith 
and a rough, tough, female kind of grace. 
At the most amazing moment in history 
God needed Mary – this is her story! 

11 thoughts on “If Mary had said no…”

  1. This is brilliant. Thank you for turning the idea of Mary away from the meek and mild images so oftentimes used to depict her and instead making her “kick – ass” as you so wonderfully put it. I have been struck by the strength and resilience of Elizabeth and Mary this advent both marginalised in their society. One for being “unfruitful” the other for being “shameful “. What they both were however, was faith filled and God centred. I feel that this poem has underlined that superbly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope that you have a happy and peaceful 2023 and that your explorations into Catholic websites provide you with a lot of helpful spiritual guidance.


      1. Thanks Pavel, and a happy new year to you too.
        My motivational man of the moment is Keith Nester, an American ex-Methodist pastor, preacher and youth leader who converted to Catholicism and now has a phenomenal following on youtube. He describes his faith as ‘passionate, unashamed Catholicism.’
        It will be good to start a new year without looking back!


  2. This is great- Thankyou
    I have preached a couple of sermons on this theme over the years but love the style !


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