Earlier this month, we celebrated the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. It is a great feast day of Mary’s maternity, of her motherhood of Christ.
What kind of mother is she? She is, like any mother, the kind that she needs to be. A mother may be a teacher one day and a nurse the next. She may be a firm but loving corrector, a gentle healer, or a compassionate forgiver. Often, she is many of them at once. Why should Mary have been different? Certainly, she taught her Son, comforted Him, and kissed His scraped knees.
Yet Mary is not only Christ’s mother, she is our mother. He gave her to John – and to all of us – from the cross. “Behold your mother,” Jesus tells us (John 19:27). John Paul II, in a general audience, taught us that “(s)ince Jesus saw in the disciple all human beings to whom he leaves that testament of love, the request to love Mary as one’s own mother is valid for all.”
She is our mother, and what kind of mother is she? She is, like any mother, the kind that she needs to be – for each one of us, in our particular needs.
To the man struggling with purity or addiction, she is the Immaculata. To the woman suffering depression or loss, she is Our Lady of Sorrows. To one defending the faith, she is Madonna, “my Lady,” smiling on her knight.
To the defeated, she is Our Lady of Victory, promising triumph in the end. To the hopeless, she is Our Lady of Perpetual Help. To the seeker, she is the Seat of Wisdom. To the bedeviled, she is Guadalupe, the serpent crusher.
Both my wife and I stumbled into our particular Marian devotions. We chose them for reasons other than the particular titles of Mary associated with them. For both of us, however, those titles reflect the mother she knew we needed. They were the reason she chose those devotions for us.
“Through her hands, all graces come to us,” as St. Maximilian Kolbe wrote, but they need not be the same graces for each person. She can–and does–give us just what we need, because she has everything in her hands to give.
John Paul II continued, in an audience, to say that
“(w)ith these words (“behold your mother”) Jesus laid the foundation of Marian devotion in the Church. Through John, he made known his will that Mary should receive a sincere filial love from every disciple whose mother she is by the decision of Jesus himself.”
We should not love her because she has gifts to give us, because she can do things for us. We love her, we show devotion to her, because she is our mother.
And she, in turn, gives us the mother that we need.
Copyright © 2013, Joe Wetterling