So many questions have arisen as to the validity of Mary being the Mother of God. Certainly most will adhere that she gave birth to Jesus, but they stop at that incident. We know there are heresies related to the fact that say his birth was not the Incarnation we teach, nor that Jesus was Divine before taking on humanity while already in the womb of Mary. There is not controversy with the Incarnation of Jesus for those of us who believe in the virgin birth. This culminated with her acceptance of doing God’s bidding and became the answer for our salvation.
Was Mary just a happen stance where she was used for a moment in history then became like the rest of humanity? Somewhere in the pattern of life Mary became just another person along the road to God’s Plan. But, then the prophets, Apostles, many saints and mystics were used as well to fit in somewhere without the recognition they had when they became known by following Christ, some to martyrdom. Too many want the rest of us to believe that.
No, Mary is more than just a woman God chose to accomplish His Plan to redeem the world. God sent the Angel Gabriel to seek Mary’s response and she immediately said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk. 1: 38)
Handmaid, servant, one who will do your bidding, in your service to serve you. Thoughts on this response when Mary so willingly said YES to the angel’s query “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” (Lk. 1: 30)
Mary was ready to respond yes, not because she was without original sin, but because the demeanor of her life, the Holy manner in which her parents raised her, and the free will she had that led her path to God through knowing who her Lord was about, led her yes to be for all time and ours as well.
There is something about motherhood that always brings children to their knees, especially sons, when life gets difficult or when there seems to be no way out of dire straights. “Mother, where are you” or similar cries at any given moment of a crisis and the womb that bore this child appears to be the security this child seeks to relive the motherly comfort they knew before entering life. Scripture may not record that with Jesus’ Agony, but deep down He did not reject his mother. On the cross, looking at his mother and the words, “Woman, behold your son.” Then he said to his disciple, “Behold your mother.” (Jn. 19: 26b - 27a) He did not forget His mother then and after His Resurrection.
How much grace did Mary receive, beginning with her Immaculate Conception, 30 years of being a mother to her only son, watching his ministry, which at times had to be heart wrenching by rejection and spitting on his face, and then standing at the cross as she watched her son die.
Ave Maria, hail Mary to the woman that said yes which is the beginning of our salvation. With just that verse Mary has the right to be Assumed into Heaven, her memory highlighted in song, prayer, devotion, and praise because she is the Mother of God.
To all the skeptics who would denounce Roman Catholics’ devotion to Mary, we say look beyond just the words of scripture, or the lack of exact word for word exclamations of our belief, and learn the meaning of Sacred Tradition which we have adhered to for 2,000 years. Scripture alone does not tell the story of God’s plan nor the ways and means He used to bring us to our final resting place in heaven. But then, perhaps that is why everyone has not accepted the Roman Catholic teachings. It wasn’t always that way in the beginning, but some need to read the Acts of the Apostles and maybe they will understand what we teach is not hyperbole. It is truth as Jesus taught his disciples. This is what the Magisterium of the Church continues to teach today.
In my room where I write and pray, a statue of Mary with a lighted candle when I pray the rosary stands as a reminder what the hail Mary’s and our Fathers on the beads represent. They comfort me knowing she whom I pray to as an intercessor to her Son is what this reflection is all about. I am Catholic, pray the rosary, and see Mary as one to whom many answers have come through. She is your mother as well, and stands before God as a sign of His great Love. If this was not true, why did He choose her to be His Mother? Happy Birthday Mary!
Ralph B. Hathaway, September 8, 2019
[Editor Note: The Catholic Church celebrates the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8. Sept 12 is the Feast of the Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary]