August 13, 2021


Mary, the first Christian steward, invites us to come home to her Son

“By her complete adherence to the Father’s will, to his Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church’s model of faith and charity. Thus she is a ‘pre-eminent and … wholly unique member of the Church’; indeed, she is the ‘exemplary realization’ [typus] of the Church” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #967).

Veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God and our mother, is a distinctive feature of our Catholic way of life.

Mary was the first Christian disciple—the first person to follow Jesus, her Son, and to invite others to do the same.

Mary’s discipleship began when she freely chose to accept an absolutely unique responsibility in the history of salvation which was communicated to her by the angel Gabriel: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Lk 1:30-33).

Mary’s response was immediate and from the heart: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word”

(Lk 1:38). She had no way of knowing exactly what was being asked of her, but she trusted that God would provide her with the grace she needed to do his will.

Mary was also the first Christian evangelist. By her words and her example, she proclaims the Good News of Jesus Christ. She invites us all to come home to her divine Son and to discover in him our hearts’ desire. Through Mary, we discover our true identity as Catholics.

As the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council said so beautifully in the “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church,” “Lumen Gentium,” Mary “gathers up in her own person the great truths of the faith” and “she summons the faithful to her Son” (#63).

Finally, Mary was the first Christian steward. She accepted her role as a caretaker or guardian of the precious gift of her son Jesus, and she shared him generously with all of us, her children. This is what Christian stewardship means: Taking care of and sharing all God’s spiritual and material gifts.

If we want to know what it means to be a missionary disciple, we only have to look to the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is the model for life in Christ. Her openness to God’s will (in spite of its mystery), her obedience, her patience, her willingness to stand with him during his passion and death, her experience of joy at Christ’s resurrection, and her active participation in the life of the Church after Pentecost all show Mary to be someone we should imitate in our daily lives as Christians.

We Catholics love Mary as one of us—our sister and our mother. We ask her to intercede for us to her Son, Jesus. We listen carefully to her words in sacred Scripture. We strive to follow the advice she gave to the servants at the wedding feast in Cana: “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5).

Devotion to Mary does not distract us from preaching the Gospel, celebrating the sacraments or serving the needs of others—especially the poor and vulnerable whom she loves in a special way. On the contrary, Mary inspires us to grow in our knowledge of her Son. She encourages us to look beyond ourselves to the needs of others. She challenges us to be good stewards of all God’s gifts. Like any good mother, Mary makes us feel welcome and at home, but she also challenges us to move beyond our comfort zones and to accept God’s call to serve him, even when we don’t understand why or how.

Mary, our mother, invites all of us to come home to Jesus, our brother. May we accept her invitation wholeheartedly, without reservation or fear. As we prepare to celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Aug. 15, may we respond, with Mary, that we truly are servants of the Lord. May his will be done by each of us according to his word!

—Daniel Conway

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