September 23, 2016

Worship and Evangelization Outreach / Erin Jeffries

‘Take it to the Queen: Embracing the Mother of Mercy’

Erin JeffriesAt a recent evening of reflection with our SPRED (Special Religious Development) catechists, we explored our relationship with the Blessed Mother.

The responses were very moving, as folks recalled daily rosaries with their families, processions and May crownings, and fervent prayers answered.

I remembered words spoken to me when I first made a consecration to Our Lady when I was 13. “You might forget about her over the years, but she will never forget you.” We came to the realization that this relationship, this mother, is someone who needs to be shared with others. One catechist was thinking in particular of two participants in her group whose mothers have passed away, and who still experience great sadness at that loss.

It is very easy to put the Blessed Mother on a pedestal—beautiful, perfect and safely distant. Queen of Heaven and Earth though she is, out of reach is not the place her Son Jesus Christ gave her, and it is not the place she takes for herself.

“Am I not here, I who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?” (Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego)

Mary’s motherly heart knows our needs. She knows happiness, love, joy, pain, fear and suffering, and she has shown that she is attentive and will be our advocate to her Son—even in what seem very small matters. Just think of the wedding at Cana! She does not forget her children: “[S]he has not laid aside this office of salvation, but by her manifold intercession she continues to obtain for us the graces of eternal salvation” (“Dives in Misericordia,” #9).

The Blessed Mother, better than anyone, knows the abundance of the Father’s love and the cost of mercy. She has experienced it in her life, having been given the same grace of the cross from the first moment of her existence. Her “fiat” extended from the conception and birth of her Son, to the foot of the Cross. Pope

St. John Paul II puts it beautifully: “No one has experienced, to the same degree as the Mother of the crucified One, the mystery of the cross” (“Dives in Misericordia,” #9).

As he did to the beloved disciple John (Jn 19:26-27), Jesus speaks to us, calling us to take his mother as our own, into our hearts, into our very lives, giving her to us as a sure guide and model to bring us to him.

And we need not worry ever about loving her too much, as St. Maximilian Kolbe says: “Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”

The Blessed Mother will never lead us anywhere but to her Son, as she said to the servants at the wedding at Cana: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5).
 

(Erin Jeffries works in the Office of Catechesis as the Coordinator of Ministry to Persons with Special Needs.)

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