Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mary, Who Is This Woman?

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There seems to be so much confusion about why Mary is so important to Catholics. In chat rooms, message boards, and other forums, her importance is debated (often due to misinformation.)

Is she a goddess? A savior? A messiah? The Mother of God? Jesus's mother? A woman? A wife?

Mary holds so much respect within the Catholic church, and with many non-Catholics, simply because she gave birth to Jesus. I've pasted the sterile catechism concerning her in a post below... but even the wording in that leads to confusion. How about I just tell you why I love her?

Mary was a woman that was chosen by God to be the vessel through which his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, could enter the world. I believe God blessed her with the ability to bear His child. He gave her a choice, and she said 'Yes' to our Lord.

This woman gave birth to Jesus. She was ridiculed during her pregnancy... although betrothed to Joseph, they did not have relations before the conception (under old Jewish law, the groom had access to the bride before the ceremony took place.) She left her familiar surroundings to go with her husband to Bethlehem, and labored in a dark animal shelter. God's word was proven to her, when the shepherds turned up declaring that angels told them of Christ's birth. She fled her homeland and survived in Egypt. She changed Jesus's soiled garments when he was a baby. She held him to her breast when he fussed in the dead of night. She taught him how to take his first steps, and kissed him when he tripped and banged his knee on the ground. She watched him as he played with Joseph, and watched as her earthly husband taught Jesus the Law. She buried her husband Joseph, when he died, and she and Jesus probably spent time grieving him together. She helped Jesus mature into a wonderful young man. Like any mother, I am sure she was always proud of her boy!

Mary probably didn't read, nor was she allowed to sit with the men in the temple. She was one of his first disciples, and there is evidence that she traveled with him to many places during his ministry on earth.

She stood before the Cross, and watched her beloved son suffer. Her baby... that precious child who made her life as a mother complete... was beaten, whipped, nailed to wood, and laughed at. Her child. Her son. Her gift from God. She cried at his death, and mourned for him.

And yet, once again, her trust in God was proven worthy... for her son, Jesus Christ, rose from the dead. He returned, just as he promised to do. The covenant with Abraham was fulfilled. The new Covenant had begun.

Mary does not predate God. But, Jesus is God, and Mary gave birth to his earthly body. She is commonly called 'the Mother of God' because of this. Everybody knows that Mary is not above God.

Catholics do not pray to Mary as if she were a goddess. They do ask Mary to intercede for them. We believe that the saints in heaven can pray for the saints on earth. If I call you on the phone and ask you to pray for my family, I am not praying to you. If I ask Mary to pray for my family, I am simply asking for more prayer coverage. I'm sure Mary doesn't mind... and I'm sure God knows I am not worshipping her as a goddess.

Pictures, icons and images are not idols. They serve as reminders of those who have come before us on earth. Mary, chosen by God, is one of the most respected of people, if only because she is a mother to us all, in love.


Autrice DelDrago said...

That is a beautiful picture! I've seen that statue before.

I have got to say "Amen" to this post. I adore the Blessed Mother.

Anonymous said...

Mary was choice and beautiful above all others to be chosen by Heavenly Father to be the Mother of Jesus Christ.Of course we all
respect and revere her. I've never seen this painting, but it is much what I expected her to look like. Biddy