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March 11March 11
During the month of May, we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary in a special way. Mary’s tenderness, her closeness to her children (all of us), and her fidelity to God’s will inspire us, and encourage us, as we seek to follow her Son, Jesus.
Mary is the Mother of God (Theotokos), an unprecedented honor in human history. We describe her as “full of grace,” which means that God’s love and goodness fill her heart to the point of overflowing. In fact, we believe that the intercession of Mary on our behalf is her way of sharing with us the grace of God that she has been so freely and generously given because of her singular role in the history of salvation.
We acknowledge Mary as our mother because her only Son gave her to the Apostle John, and by extension to all of us, as he was dying on the Cross. It is both a privilege and a responsibility to reverence Mary as our mother and to seek her protection and care in times of trial and adversity. We thank God for the priceless gift that Jesus has given us in Mary. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary serves as a powerful advocate, who never ceases to work on our behalf.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux once said, “The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the heart of a mother.” If this is true of every mother whose heart is full of love, it is doubly true of Mary, whose Immaculate Heart is filled to overflowing with love for us, her children.
Mary was not burdened by selfishness or sin. As a result, she was completely free to say “yes” to God’s will for her. That perfect assent to the divine will is a model for us—sinful and imperfect as we are.
When we imitate Mary, we place ourselves in the hands of our Creator, trusting that God will help us to do what we cannot do by ourselves.
Mary’s great song of praise, the Magnificat, gives us the words we need to praise and thank our God:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
We, who even more than Mary, are “lowly servants,” have been raised in dignity by our baptism and have been sent as missionary disciples of Jesus Christ to proclaim the Good News.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
We, who hunger and thirst for truth, have been filled “with good things,” while those who are seeking satisfaction in the things of this world are “sent away empty.” Mary’s words echo in our hearts as we implore the Queen of Heaven to intercede for us before the throne of grace.
It’s no accident that in the worst of times—including pandemics, economic crises, and the horrors of war—we turn to Mary. When peace and justice seem too much to hope for, when natural and human evils threaten to overwhelm us, and when life’s cruelty overshadows everything, Mary stands before us as the Mother of Mercy and Queen of Peace. She comforts us, encourages us, and shares our pain in her titular roles as Help of the Sick, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Mother of Sorrows, and so many more.
Devotion to Mary declines when we lull ourselves into thinking that we are capable of taking care of ourselves. It’s only when we admit that we need serious help to overcome the spiritual, the moral, and the social-political-economic challenges of our time that we have the good sense to return to our Blessed Mother and implore her assistance.
If we have learned anything the past three years, we have to admit that we human beings are not in charge of ourselves or our world. Even with all our scientific and technological achievements, we are at the mercy of forces far beyond our control. We need all the help we can get, and we need it now.
This May, let’s fly to the Queen of Heaven and ask for her unfailing help. Let’s pray the rosary fervently, and let’s ask our loving Mother to be with us every day as we continue our synodal journey and seek to build a better, more just, peaceful and hopeful world in her Son’s name.