By CJ Kallevig
Mother of God. Blessed Virgin. Our Lady of Lourdes, of Fatima, of Guadalupe. Star of the Sea. Queen of Heaven and Earth. Holy Mary. Madonna. Mother of the Church. Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
All of these titles are used to refer to Our Lady, Mary. They relate to various apparitions and aspects of her.
But what is it about Mary that brings us to love and respect her so? What is so special about this random Israelite girl that lived over 2,000 years ago?
Well the first big thing is that she is the Mother of God, who brought our Lord into this world and raised him. She was with him throughout his life, and she was there at his death. We honor her for her life of faith and for her example of devotion to God’s will for our lives. But there seems to be a lot more to how Catholics view Mary.
When I entered the Church, I didn’t understand the Catholic obsession with Mary. To me, she was a regular human being who got randomly chosen to be the Mother of God. So some of the teachings and devotions to Mary really confused me.
The Rosary was one of the big ones that I didn’t understand. Especially as a convert, I didn’t understand why we could go to Mary with our petitions rather than going straight to Jesus. I thought that it was a waste of time to talk to her. As I have grown in my faith, I have begun to realize just why it is a good idea to talk to Mother. First, she is in heaven and is interceding for us. And she is the perfect intercessor. When we ask Mary to bring our requests to the Father, she takes them and makes them perfect. What does that mean? It means she takes our requests that may not come from a good place, or they might be a selfish request, and she strips away all the negative influences. She makes these requests perfect, and then she brings them to Jesus.
Another teaching that confused me was about how Mary is our Mother. Not just Jesus’, but all of ours. It wasn’t until I went searching in the Bible that I found out just why we do that. In John 19:26-27, Jesus is hanging on the cross, and Mary is standing near him, as she did all throughout his life. One of the disciples is also there, and what Jesus does is something so simple but so beautiful:
“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.”John 19:26-27
At this moment, Jesus does not just give his mother to the disciple to take care of, he gives her to us as our Mother. She is ours and we are hers.
There are still things that I don’t understand about Mary, but I don’t need to understand them. For me, I know that she loves me and is praying for me. Mary as Mother has been very important to me over these past two and a half years in my journey through Catholicism. She is the one I turn to when I need to cry or when I need to share something that is overflowing my heart.
She is not just the Mother of God, she is my Mother also. My love for Mary has grown so much as I continue to get to know her. I hope that you also continue to grow closer to Mary.
God bless you all, and I will see you in the Eucharist.