Tuesday, August 15, 2006

To Jesus through Mary

Last week, Christine Regan wrote: "One area I really have never explored or understood very well is the topic of Marian devotion. I have been told as Catholics, part of our faith that distinguishes us from other denominations includes special attention to the Virgin Mary. Though this has interested me, this area of our faith was never really explored or explained in my years in Catholic school, though very important, and has made it difficult to learn more. I have been thinking about it lately and would really enjoy reading up on the importance of our Holy Mother in our lives and how I can learn from her example. Any suggestions?"

Thanks, Christine, for your timely question about our Blessed Mother. Today is the day we celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; this feast commemorates Mary being taken up into Heaven, body and soul. It is such an important event that the Church has made August 15 a solemnity (the highest feast) each year, and a Holy Day of Obligation. The Assumption is a beautiful celebration of Mary's immaculate life on Earth and entry into heavenly glory.

When we think about Mary's role in our own lives, we can think about how important our own mothers are to us. It is through the 'yes' to life that our mothers said so many years ago that we exist. It is through the 'yes' to love that they said in raising us that we are the people that we are today. We are the results of their love. Put in a more spiritual way, we are the fruit of their wombs.

Mary said 'yes' to God her whole life; she never sinned. Specifically and most importantly, she said yes at the Annunciation when God asked her to give birth to his Son. She was a teenager (b/w 14-16 years old)!! By the power of the Holy Spirit (see Lk 1:35), Mary conceived Christ in her womb. It is through Mary that Christ entered the world. It is through her that Salvation, Love, Peace, Mercy, and Truth entered the world. It is through her that Eternal Life entered the world.

Christ (and Christianity) is the fruit of Mary's womb! We say in the 'Hail Mary', "blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus" (cf Lk 1:42). What fruit she bore in her womb! She conceived, gave birth, nurtured, cared for, and raised our Savior! How important is Mary in God's Plan of Salvation! Everything we have in Christ comes about through her. We have life in Christ through her.

Mary is the Mother of God and our mother (cf. Jn 19:26-27). Just like with our own mothers, we give thanks to God for our Mother in Heaven and regularly turn to her for help. Christ comes to us through Mary. So, we are to go to Jesus through Mary*.
*I will post in the near future about how to go to Jesus through Mary; one way is to pray the Rosary. In answer to someone's recent question, we should pray the Rosary (five decades, at least) every day, as Mary has requested in her apparitions.


At 10:11 PM, Anonymous K. said...

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At 9:33 AM, Blogger The Balla Family said...

Hi Fr. Greg. Here is my question. It is about intercession in general, although it was yesterday's feast that got me thinking.

Why ask Mary (or any Saint, for that matter) to intercede on our behalf, when we have a personal relationship with Jesus (God) himself?

This came up over dinner last night. Desi gave what I thought was a great answer, although ultimately it didn't convince me. She used the analogy of a child going through his/her mother as a way of ultimately approaching dad. (I did this all the time as a kid when I wanted to stay out later than usual, usually to hang out with Desi!)

Here was my reaction. God is not like my dad (or like me!). He doesn't need to be "softened up" by Mary, or doesn't look more favorably on our needs when we go through Mary. His love and grace are perfect and not conditioned on Mary's (or anyone else's) involvement.

You used a similar analogy in your homily last night, joking with Deacon Mike that he probably needed to go to his mother when he was bad as a child. But does that analogy really hold up?

Mind you, I am not questioning a devotion to Mary. I pray to Mary, love to say the Hail Mary, and generally love Mary as the epitome of sinless human existence. (I do need to pick things up in terms of saying the rosary.) A real role model for me.

So I guess my question is actually a very narrow one. Why would a devotion to Mary (or to any Saint) include asking them to intercede on my behalf before Jesus (God)?



At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Nick said...


I am sure Fr. Greg is up to the task and can wax much more eloquently and theologically more perfectly than I can but I heard an answer to this question somewhere - Catholic Answers or EWTN perhaps.

It goes like this:

I am sure there have been times when you asked a friend or a family member to pray for you. For example,

"I have a job interview tomorrow, please pray for me."


“My mother is having surgery tomorrow, please pray for her.”

We ask for people’s intercession here on earth all the time. Why not ask those who are already in heaven? Surely they can hear us and let’s face it, they have a front row seat to the almighty, right?



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