Why You Need Your Mom
As the Catholic Church celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparition, I was moved to reflect on Marian devotion. Why does Mary play an essential role in the fullness of the faith Christians received from Jesus Christ? Is it possible to go to Jesus without Mary?
Mary is Queen Mother, she is Momma Mary, she is the gate, she is the perfect image of the church, spouse of the Holy Spirit. I cannot exhaust her dignity in one blog post, but I do wish to show how Mary is not only indispensable for Christian faith, but a much needed help for weak sinners.
Why are Catholics so devoted to Mary? First and foremost Mary deserves our honor as the one human being who perfectly accepted God's will for her life. We honor Mary as Mother of Christ, and rightly so, but even Jesus boldly asserts that Mary's primary honor is her unwavering faith, which was the foundation for which she was able to receive the gift of baby Jesus.
In the Gospel of Luke, a woman approaches Jesus and cries out praise of how blessed Mary must be as the woman who carried God in her womb: “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.”
Initially this may seem one of those time where Jesus sasses His mom. But upon reflection it is clear that Jesus is not denying Mary honor, but taking an opportunity to show that the only honor greater than being a physical tabernacle of the Most High God is to be a spiritual tabernacle of the Holy Spirit, by embracing God's will. Mary's blessedness is that she accepted a virgin birth and all the confusion and derision that would entail as an act of faith in God's word. And thus the Holy Spirit took flesh in her womb.
Thus Mary is the perfect illustration for every Christian that accepting God's will for our lives is true blessedness -- true happiness and the highest honor we can receive. Yet Mary, perfect though she may be, is a human and experienced fear. "How can this be?" Yet she did not hide behind her fear, she demonstrates true feminine strength: courage. Courage is the virtue that enables us to face fear, feel its pain and to walk through it for love of a greater good. For love of God, Mary accepted the uncertainty of being a single woman giving birth to the Messiah.
Jesus is God, therefore insofar as Mary is Mother of Jesus, we can boldly proclaim she is Mother of God. This may seem like an undue exaltation or a contradiction in terms. How can the all powerful, eternal infinite God have a human mother? It is the same bold supernatural mystery that proclaims that the all powerful, eternal infinite God united His divine nature to our humanity. It is the same supernatural mystery that proclaims that the baptized become children of God by grace. It is the mystery of the Incarnation which teaches us that God can experience a human life from birth to death without forfeiting His divinity. Thus acknowledging Mary as Mother of God actually helps us consider more deeply how the Word became flesh.
Therefore Mary as Mother of God is Queen Mother who reigns from heaven. She is enthroned beside the King of the Universe as Queen. Just as Solomon's mother was given power in the Davidic Kingdom :
"Make your request my mother, for I will not refuse you."1Kings 2:20
Catholics recognize that Jesus allows Mary to intercede for weak sinners. Therefore Mary is a powerful intercessor for Christians.
Finally Mary is the perfect image of the Church on earth. The Church is the Bride of Christ, the holy ones that Christ gave His life to save. In the same way that the Holy Spirit took flesh in Mary's womb, through our baptism the Holy Spirit inflames our flesh and we become temples of the triune God. Consequently we are wed to Christ. Yet this baptism is brought to completion once we accept God's will for our lives. Once we have the courage to say yes to God, no matter what the sacrifice may be. Therefore Mary as the first person to accept the will of God perfectly and to be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, illustrates for us true blessedness: hearing the will of God and obeying.
Jesus chose to come to us through Mary, therefore she plays an essential role in Christian faith. She is the much needed example of virtue and the powerful intercessor praying for us from heaven. Therefore we should talk to our heavenly mother, asking her to show us how to know and love Jesus. In the same way that weak children must learn from their earthly mothers, we need a heavenly mother to further elucidate the profound supernatural mysteries revealed to us. Furthermore, we do not want to deny that, as the fulfillment of the Old Testament, God has given His mother power to interceded for us.
"Behold your mother." (John 19:27)
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!