Why does the Blessed Virgin matter to us as Christians? Why all the emphasis on her, why any emphasis at all, does it not detract from Jesus? The short answer is no, but I’m willing to bet you opened this article hoping for a little more than that.
So why do we Catholics have this devotion? Simply because Jesus was gracious enough to give us His mother as our own spiritual mother as He was dying on the cross. We read in the gospel of St. John 19 25-27, “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen His mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, He saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour the disciple took her to his own.” The Catholic Church has always held this verse not to mean that St. John was graced with some particular privilege by having the Blessed Virgin as his mother, but that in this verse Jesus was symbolically giving all the Church a spiritual mother, just as they have a spiritual father in the first person of the Holy Trinity.
The fact that we share not only our Father in Heaven with Jesus, but our mother, too, is news that should excite us, should make us feel even more a brother or sister to Christ. For as our Holy Father here on Earth once said:
And how true a statement this is! How can we truly claim to know the Holy Family if we neglect our Holy Mother? Indulge me for a moment and imagine that you were adopted into a family with one older brother, a mother, and a father. Now you love your new father and brother with all your heart, but something about the mother just puts you off. You also don’t see the point, given you have all you’ve ever wanted in your new brother and father. So as a result you never speak to the mother, never call her, view her an irrelevant part of the family save the fact that she gave birth to the brother whom you so adore. Meanwhile your father loves this woman to the very core of her being, having chosen her out of all other women to make her His bride. Even more to the point this brother of yours loves your mother dearly, and would literally perform miracles at her request. (St. John 2: 1-11) Now how do you think your relationship with that family would be? Would it be healthy? Or is it possible that maybe it would be rather strained?
Imagine again the same scenario, only this time you make your fullest effort to care for your new mother as well. Imagine how you might begin to understand why your father picked this woman, understand the wonderful qualities that led Him to choose her as a wife, and for the first time you start to love her too, if only a little bit. Picture yourself trying to emulate that older brother of yours, only now your mother comes to your aid as well to show you how He does things, or to teach you things about Him that you never thought to ask. How much closer would you start to become with that family? More than likely you’d find yourself closer than you ever thought you needed to be before.
A family requires unity, and communication, and the Holy Family is no different. If we truly wish to know Christ as fully as possible, we must know His mother, so pick up a rosary, say a hail Mary, or maybe just say a simple, “Hey mom, I want to talk.” That’s a beautiful first step right there.Tags » Blessed Mother, Blessed Virgin Mary, holy family, Mary Mother of God