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There’s Something About Mary

January 19, 2012

There’s something about Mary, the mother of Jesus.

This could be a place to share the Catholic position on Mary, explaining its nuances and extolling its virtues, but there are countless other places to find that information.

This is more of a meditation, a personal exploration into the heart of Mary and what, if anything, she means to my spiritual life.

In the past, I’ve documented my struggles with Mary. I’ve talked about my former life as a Protestant and how, coming back into the Catholic Church, I pushed Mary to the margins of my faith because devotion to her seemed so superfluous to me. “We already have God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to worship and reverence,” I thought, “what can Mary possibly bring to the table?”

This is one of the challenges we face when we talk about Mary, the presumption that elevating her to a place of adoration and love implies some deficiency in God.

But there is something that Mary can bring to the table that is found nowhere else in the trinity of God: the qualities of a mother.

God didn’t need Mary to play a part in his salvation of the world. He chose her, certainly, and used her fiat, “yes,” to enact his plan of salvation. But ours is a God that brought Adam, the first man, into being by breathing life into the dirt. It was by God’s own value judgement, “it is not good that man should be alone,” that the first woman was brought into being, proceeding from the rib of Adam. Likewise, the woman, Mary, who was mother of Jesus was not “necessary,” in the strictest terms. God made a divine but unstated value judgement to give us a mother in Mary.

Just as the first Eve was a gift to the first Adam, so Mary, the new Eve was a gift to Jesus, the new Adam, and you and me in the process. Why? Because there is no relationship that we, as human beings, better understand, desire and crave than motherhood.

As a father of three kids aged six and under, it’s fair to say that, in any given day, someone is going to cry about something. Without fail, when my kids fall down and get hurt, they instinctively call out “mommy!” I can swoop down to try and rescue them and take away their pain, but even as I try, they always resort to calling for mom.

Mothers bring comfort. They exhibit love in a way that is fundamentally different than a father’s love. And that’s a good thing. The love of a father and the love of a mother are complimentary and beautiful. One gives guidance and support, the other love, encouragement and comfort.

Men are taught to be big and strong. As we emerge into adolescence and manhood, there are few phrases that bring us shame quite like being called a “momma’s boy.” We flee the comfort of our mother’s side, putting distance between us and affirming our masculinity. Unfortunately, we have mirrored this action in our spiritual lives, leading us away from the comfort of our spiritual mother.

It’s time (for me and for you) to take a step back. To be unafraid to approach our spiritual mother, saying “to thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we life up our sighs, morning and weeping in this valley of tears.”

As we cry out to Her, she gives us the comfort that only a mother can bring and points us to the Father, the ultimate giver of strength and love.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jerry Jones permalink
    January 21, 2012 1:17 pm

    Think of how much deeper your love for Our Mother will be when you finally make the Consecration to Jesus through Mary! The next consecration is the Annunciation on March 25 and it starts on February 20th. I am asking St. Louis de Montfort to pray that you will follow through on this!

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