What is it about Mary that attracts Catholics to her? First, we must look close to home in order to understand our attraction to her, and our relationship with her.
On the Cross, Jesus gave his mother to us: “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). From that moment, Mary became the mother of all Christians, a symbol of the Church, the mother of all the living, those seeking salvation.
If Mary is our mother, what type of mother is she? It is said that Mary is the new Eve. The distinction between Mary and Eve can be found with the sin of Adam and Eve. Essentially, Eve said NO to God by disobeying Him. It was through this NO of Adam and Eve that sin and death entered the world. It is through Mary’s YES (her fiat) that eternal life, entered the world. Life eternal, as opposed to death eternal; sin is death, eternal separation from God, Christ is life, eternal life with God.
Then, it was through Mary that Christ came to restore our relationship with God, our Father. Just as Mary said yes, and carried Jesus in her womb, and cared for Jesus, she cares for each and every one of us with the same love she showed her son, Jesus.
How many of us as children would go to our earthly mothers and ask for help. Did we not as children depend on our mothers to care for us, love us, feed us, nurture us, protect us—give us life! Our mothers carried us in their wombs for nine months, saying yes to God all that time. They gave us life and the opportunity for life eternal with our brother, Jesus.
God asks us to honor and respect our parents, our mother and father—commandment #4—“Honor your father and mother, that you may have life in the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). So, then, who and what is Mary to each of us?
Mary is our mother! We must give her the respect and honor that she deserves. She is our Queen Mother. Just as King Solomon honored his mother (Bathsheba) by listening to his mother’s intercessions (1 Kings 2:19-20) so will Jesus, our King, honor His mother by listening to His mother’s intercessions on our behalf. This is seen at the wedding of Cana: “His mother said to the servers, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ ” (John 2:5). Even though Bathsheba and Mary were not born in a palace they both received respect and honor from their children (Luke 1:48).
Our home is the first place that we learn how to love and be loved. Our home, the domestic church, is where we learn of God’s love for us and His generosity. Our parents are a gift from Him to us, we, as God’s children, are a gift to our parents. To disrespect any gift given is to disrespect the giver of the gift. Mary, our Heavenly Queen Mother, is a gift from God to us. To disrespect that gift, would be to disrespect the giver of that gift, God.
Our homes are the domestic church. The Church is the bride of Christ. Christ is the groom. Mary is the mother to the groom of the Church, Jesus. And we, are God’s adopted children through Christ’s incarnation.
The Church born at Pentecost was witnessed by Mary. Who, already filled with the Spirit, becomes “the living memory of Christ, of his life from the beginning, of his words. Her maternal presence speaks of him in everything.” Mary, “Queen of Apostles,” was present to assure the apostles that God would fulfill His promise of the coming advocate, the Holy Spirit. Just as Mary assured and nurtured the apostles at the Church’s birth, she remains with us to this day as a witness to God’s love for His Church, His adopted children, His family.
Fr. Schuster is the pastor at Church of St. Hildegard in Menoken and Sacred Heart in Wilton.
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