The images above show several different artistic interpretations of the moment of the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel "was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:26-28
We've talked about so many of our gifts this month, it's only right that Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother, should number among them. Those who have a relationship with Mary appreciate just what an intercessor and mother she is. But to those who don't know her very well, our Catholic attachment to Mary is difficult to understand. The Scripture passage above gives the easiest, most obvious reason for our love of Mary: the Lord is with her. Wherever Mary goes, Jesus is there. They were together from the very first moments of Jesus' earthly life, in her womb, and they remained together to the bitter end on Calvary. Mary was present after the crucifixion as well, at the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. She was there through it all.
Mary was united to Jesus in his hidden years, in the house at Nazareth, when not much is recorded about him. Like any mother, she must have known her son very, very well, and seen him laugh, cry, be hungry, be helpful, be serious. She must have had many conversations with him as he grew. Imagine the Scripture studies that must have gone on in their home! As faithful Jews, studying the word of God would have been very important. They would have been involved in the worship life of their community, and we know they took part in the pilgrimages to the temple. Mary, who herself was very well formed in her faith by her own parents, St. Anne and St. Joachim, would have only grown in knowledge and wisdom during the years Jesus lived with her.
And yet, Mary remains so humble, so fully the disciple of her son. All of her apparitions have been about Jesus, about more prayer and repentance, giving more glory to God. She is also truly a mother because she is never angry or judgmental. She is serious, as in the apparition at Fatima, but it is not her place or her role to judge, so she never does. That job is reserved for God alone.
If Mary deeply loved her son, Jesus, doesn't it make sense that Jesus also deeply loved his mother, and wanted her to be loved by those he loves as well? This all seems pretty much in keeping with healthy human relationships, which the Holy Family certainly portrayed.
And or course, we know that Jesus gave the world his mother, when he was dying on the cross. As the one who knew him best, who could teach others about him. Mary has done this for centuries. But maybe the best reason to Give Thanks for Mary is that she really acts like a mother to those who ask for her help. She truly shares her loving nature with us in our lives, just as she did for Jesus. It's as though Jesus said to her "Mom, I need you to go and love and care for all my sisters and brothers, just as you love me." And Mary said "Yes."
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death. Amen.
This blog is written by the Baskets & Blessings team, to inspire, encourage and elevate!