For many Protestants, the subject of Mary is a touchy one. When Our Blessed Mother is brought up in conversation, statements such as, “How dare you worship Mary!” and “You idolater/heathen/other damning names!” usually come up.
And honestly, when I was a lukewarm Catholic, I didn’t really get the whole “Mary-business” either. I mean, I understood the power of her intercession and all of that, but I was kinda like, “Ya, Mary’s cool and all, but I don’t want to get too into her otherwise those Protestants might start yelling mean things at me again.”
(I’m kidding about the whole Protestant yelling thing, of course. I love you guys! 😉 )
But it wasn’t until I really started getting into my faith that I began to understand who Mary is and why she’s so important to salvation history. The Catholic Church holds Mary in such high regard because she said yes to God when everything else was against her, without a second thought. I could try to poorly explain to you the reasons why the Church honors Our Blessed Mother, Her being the new Eve, Mother of the living God, etc.
But the reason why I love Mary is this: She gave me Jesus. She gave to me the One who saved my life, my Savior. She gave to me the One whom I love the most.
Without Mary, who knows what terrible state this world would be in? Can you imagine a world without Jesus? Without Him, our world would be full of chaos and unrest. But with Him, we can experience peace and joy.
How could I ever be more grateful to Her? And the thing is, even though She’s given so much to us already, Our Mother didn’t just stop giving after she said yes to God. She is constantly interceding for us in Heaven, and because Her will is so in-line with God’s, her intercession is truly powerful. All we have to do is ask, and Our Blessed Mother comes to us with open arms.
How beautiful is the woman who literally brings God into the world. And if we let Her, Mary can bring us so close to her Son. When the pregnant Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s womb literally leapt with joy at knowing that they were in the presence of our Lord. This instance wasn’t exclusive to Elizabeth. If we ask, Mary can bring us so much closer to Jesus.
Mary Teaches and Loves Us
Mary can teach us how to be a servant of God. She risked everything for a promise that God made her: her husband, her future, even her life. But instead of begrudgingly accepting God’s plan, Mary is beyond joyful to serve, saying, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” (Luke 1:46-49) And because of her humility and faithfulness to His plan, God made Mary the Queen of Heaven (Revelations 12:1).
Mary also teaches us how to suffer gracefully. Her life was by no means easy. I mean, experiencing the pains of labor in a dingy stable in the midst of a bunch of stinky animals after being rejected by all the inns in town despite being very, very pregnant is not exactly an ideal situation. And just the thought of how Mary must have felt at the death of our Lord absolutely breaks my heart. After being assured that her Son would be one day be King, after being so proud of His accomplishments and His ministry, she saw her beloved Son be brutally beaten and hung from a cross, a punishment for the worst of criminals. She witnessed first hand Our Lord, the perfect Creator of the universe who loves us infinitely more than we imagine, be mercilessly murdered by soldiers who mocked him unceasingly. Her only Son was taken from her at a moment’s notice.
I imagine the Holy Family, Mary, Joseph and Jesus, to be such a joyful, happy, God-loving family. I imagine them to be a household of laughter and happiness, as are families who truly love God. All of that peace and joy, laughter and love, was taken away from her at a moment’s notice. When Good Friday and Holy Saturday come around every year, I reflect on the utter despair, misery and hopelessness Mary must’ve experienced. A home of pure love was taken away from her, and Mary was left alone with nothing.
Mary understands suffering more than most of us do, and when we are going through difficult times, we can ask that she help us through them. You can talk to Mary when everyone else has left you, even when you feel as if God has left you. She understands your pain. She can comfort you when there seems to be nothing left to hold on to. She can teach you how to say yes to God’s will, even when the consequences don’t seem to be in your favor.
So yes, these are my thoughts on the Virgin Mary. The truth is, someone can love Jesus without loving Mary, but nobody could ever love Mary without loving even more deeply her Son, Jesus.
All I hope is that one day, I can be as faithful to God’s plan for me as my beautiful Mother. I pray that one day I can bring Jesus to someone else, just as she has brought Him to me. So thank you, my Mother Mary, for being the beautiful, loving Mother to all of God’s children.