Mary: The Mother of GOD and OUR Mother.
I have longed to write something about Mary for a very long time. I simply cannot put into words the deep love that I have for the blessed virgin. When I talk about my beautiful mother, whom Jesus himself gave me as His last wish, tears start to flow. These are not tears of sadness but tears of Joy and immense gratitude.There are times I ponder just how great the love of Jesus is in giving His beloved mother to all His brothers and sisters.
As a cradle catholic , mother Mary was always a part of my faith life. Rosaries and images of our lady filled my house. The simple fact that she was always present alongside her Son, allowed me, as a young child ,to know instantly that she required honour. After all, she was the mother of Jesus! I remember, as a child, seeing statues and images of Our lady, which my parents and grandparents encouraged me to kiss and venerate ,and just feeling her warm and caring love for me. Furthermore, after the sign of the cross, the first prayer I learnt was the ‘Hail Mary’. I still remember, my grandmother teaching me ‘the Memorare’ line by line. I would say that as I grew, Jesus etched within my heart a space for His beloved mother.
As I grew older, I knew that asking for Mary’s intercession was an easy way to get to Jesus. In other words, I was certain that she would take care of things. I remember struggling with ‘anger’ as I’d just entered my teens. I was frustrated and annoyed. I longed to be calm and patient as before. This was precisely the time when my family and I visited the church of ‘ Our Lady of Vallarpadam’ in my homeland. This church is dedicated to an apparition of Our lady, to a Hindu mother and child, whereby she saved them from death after they’d drowned and were missing in the river for 3 whole days. In the centre of the church grounds is a dedication to all the church approved apparitions of Mary from around the world. I vividly remember, 13-year-old Jubia, walking up to the statues of each apparition and imploring Our lady’s help. She didn’t disappoint and through her intercession Jesus granted me the grace to overcome this small trial. This is just one of the many ways in which Mary showed me her maternal love.
Mother Mary is to this day someone I can run to in times of happiness or in despair. I imagine myself sitting close to her, whilst she cradles me in her arms, and I share with her all the wonderful things that Jesus has done. I can tell her anything and everything. I can tell her about my stresses, anxieties and fears. I then envision Mary listening ,to all of this non-stop chatter, and smiling ever so graciously. This smile is enough for me to know that She will take my heart to Jesus.
The older I became, the shocking truth that some people despised Our lady really hurt me. I simply couldn’t understand how one could love Jesus and then talk very rude about His very own mother. I didn’t know how to answer this hatred towards Mary, and this weighed heavily on my heart. However, I now understand just how fundamental Mary is to salvation history. Believe me I’m no theologian (although I love theology). I want to share with you some of the reasons why Catholics honour (not WORSHIP!) this awesome woman!
“We never give more honour to Jesus than when we honour His mother, and we honour her simply and solely to honour Him all the more perfectly” St. Louis De Montfort.
Mary and the Holy trinity.
I heard a priest ,on a radio show, discuss the unique relationship that Mary has with the trinity. My response to this was “WOW!”. The majority of Christians believe in the trinity (God in three persons). Mary is Gods masterpiece because no other woman will at the same time be the daughter of God the father, mother of God the Son and spouse of God the Holy spirit. Mary alone shares this tight bond with God. Therefore, Mary is the most important woman in the entire bible!
Mary as the Mother of God.
The early church fathers ,from the time of the church father Origen, consistently referred to Mary as the Theotokos. This is a Greek word for the term ‘mother of God’. In the council of Ephesus, pope celestine, in response to the Nestorian heresy, that threatened the divinity of Christ, officially proclaimed this title of Mary. Mary didn’t precede God but, due to the truth that Jesus Christ, the second person of the trinity, who is fully God and fully man came through Mary makes her the mother of God. It is impossible to say that Mary is the mother of the human nature of Jesus because you do not mother a nature but a person. The person that came from Mary was God! How beautiful is this!
Mary as the Immaculate conception.
In a recent conversation, my mother and I discussed our favourite titles of Mary. Without having to ponder, I shared that my favourite title was the ‘immaculate conception’. There is something about this title that fills me with awe and wonder. To me it’s the most beautiful title of our lady! Mary was a unique creation of God, destined to be the vessel that brought Him into the world. God is perfect and He cannot reside in a body that has the stain of original sin or commits sin. Thus, an ordinary woman can’t be the mother of God. Therefore, by a singular act of grace, God preserved Mary from original sin, and prevented her from falling into sin throughout her life, whilst maintaining her free will. In Lourdes, Mary revealed to little Bernadette that she indeed was the ‘Immaculate conception’!
"She told me. “I am the Immaculate Conception.” and said the rosary with me." St. Bernadette Soubirous.
Mary as the Ark of the covenant.
The ark of the covenant contained the holy presence of God, for the Jewish people. This ark was lost for centuries in a battle until St John, in the book revelation, proclaimed “ Behold the ark of the covenant (Rev 11:19)…A great portent appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars (Rev 12: 1)”. The ark was lost but now it is found in Mary! There is no need to search to find the ark because you will not find it unless you meet Mary. In the old ark of the covenant resided the stone tablets of the law (word of God inscribed in stone), the urn filled with manna (bread from heaven) and the rod of Aaron (the priesthood). In Mary dwelt Jesus who is the word of God made flesh, our Eucharist and the true eternal priest. Has this shocked you yet?!
So far, I have pointed out some interesting theology to you. However, I think the most important reason why we love, and honour Mary is because we adore Jesus. If I love Jesus, then I must respect and love His mother. Don’t you think that Jesus loves His mother? Wouldn’t Jesus, the perfect son, honour His mother? Of course! There is no human being that Jesus would love more than His mother. God tells us to ‘honour thy father and mother’ in the 10 commandments. Mary is the mother of all humanity, by virtue of her Son Jesus Christ who is God incarnate, and thus I must love her if I am to follow the commandments of God.
Mary is the most beautiful woman we will ever encounter. Mary’s only desire is that we know her beloved Son. Her mission was and always is to ‘magnify the Lord’.
If for any reason you feel a hatred towards Mary, I just encourage you to think about why it is so? Why do you dislike her? She is the mother of Jesus and we can never love her more than He does. Perhaps, after reading this, you could talk to her a little bit. Don’t be afraid of what to say. It doesn’t even matter if you fail to utter big words, she will surely listen. Mary is our mother after all, and mothers always listen to their children!
~ Jubia XXX