Thursday, August 18, 2011

Musings on the Blessed Virgin

It seems to me most Catholics I know maintain some devotion to our Blessed Mother. And why wouldn't they, who better to turn to the Mary, the obedient, willing handmaiden of God. She should be and is a model of everything we should strive to be as Catholic Christians.

Her ego never puffed up and got in her way over God's divine plan. She willingly and readily accepted the things that were put on her plate. She told the waitstaff in Cana to do whatever he tells you (John 2:5), but was she really speaking to first century waiters or to 21st century Christians.

See here's the thing, she was almost certainly still alive while the Gospels were taking shape, maybe not when they were finally written down. But surely, Matthew, Mark and Luke all could have talked to her about the life of Jesus. John certainly had access to her as she was his adopted Mother, in a more certain way than she is the adopted mother of us all. Anyway, notice the only times she shows up in the story are important times. I think she was making herself small, willingly undercutting things important to her to showcase things important for everyone.

Much like Peter's smallish role in Mark's Gospel. Many scholars now believe that Mark was Peter's secretary and that the Gospel of Mark is Peter's version of events.

It speaks volumes that there is so little written about the woman who would by giving Christ a human nature become the adopted mother of all Christians. Think hard about the times she is mentioned in the Gospels:

The Annunciation
The Visitation
The Birth of Christ
The Presentation in the Temple
The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
The Wedding at Cana
The Crucifixion

So what eight times. Either she was an absentee mother, which we all know isn't true, or somebody soft-sold her importance to the story. One of the most moving moments in The Passion of the Christ is when Mary sees Jesus fall under the weight of his cross, she flashes back to seeing the child Jesus stumble and skin his knee. What a heartrending moment, every parent knows the pain you feel when your child falls and hurts themselves. Imagine watching your only child being led to his execution, not for his own crimes, and falling under the weight of that burden.

Mary, is the saint I turn to most often. Whenever I am feeling lost I almost immediately hear myself whispering "Hail Mary..." Perhaps because she was the Mother of God, perhaps just because she was a mother period seems to almost encourage a sort of homey, comfortable relationship. I find myself praying to her for guidance when I don't know what I should be really praying for, or how to pray for it if I do.

Sr. Mary Ann Walsh referred to her as the milk and cookies of Catholicism. I like the imagery and the thought at work here.

Who better to turn to then your mother with a big plate of cookies and a glass of milk to help you talk through your problems.

One of my all-time favorite "Catholic" jokes tells how Jesus was walking around Heaven one day and saw a lot of people who didn't belong. So he went to St. Peter and said hey Pete why are all of these people here. Peter tells him he has no idea he didn't let them in. So Jesus continues walking the Kingdom and sees his mother sneaking them in.

With the feast of the Assumption having just passed us by, do you talk to your mother often. She wants to hear from you.

No comments: