Monday, March 28, 2011

The Blessed Virgin Mary

I think I would be remiss to give my readers, glimpses of my daily life, vacations, household, how I raise my children, my husband’s building styles and not mention  a pretty important person in our life like Our Lady. If you think I am now going to explain in some theological fashion why you should have devotion to Our Lady, you are wrong.Neither will I urge you to buy a set of rosaries, or memorize some quick Marian prayers and devotions. That would seem rather silly. You have your own free will, please use it. There are far holier and more eloquent speakers, writers, and apologists who can do Mary far more justice than I will ever be able to here.

I will simply offer you this, Mary means something to me.  

I know that for those of you with protestant roots she can be a real problematic figure. You might think for a moment I have lost my ability to discern between God and Man, which I assure you- I have not. I am perfectly aware Mary is not God, or even a goddess. She is completely, and wholly human. Though I do believe all the church teaches on this mother of mine and so I hold that she is sinless. This sinlessness (aka Immaculate) is a belief held by Catholics not gained through any merit of her own, but rather by God,in order to be the proper vessel for her divine Son. This has always made sense to me in a very simplistic way, but be patient with me as I offer my own clumsy analogy. It makes sense to me that Mary would be purified ahead of time so Jesus was able to enter humanity without being stained by the very original sin He was trying to redeem mankind from. Could He have done this in another way than to be born of an Immaculate Virgin? I’m sure. After all He is God. But this is the form He decided on, and it seems an acceptable and reasonable teaching to me.

You might wonder why I bother to talk to Mary at all if I could instead speak directly to Our Lord in ALL my prayers? You’re right, I could. But of course any one I have ever found worth knowing, and speaking to,  and have really loved is always made more visible to me by those who also know and love them too. For instance, while it is true you might want to know something about Fred that you could ask him yourself- you might just find you get quite a different angle if you asked me, his wife, the same question since I am more likely to observe him from a different  perspective.The truth is both answers will yield a wealth of information.They needn't be separated. Since Mary knows Our Lord better then us, I find I have grown to trust her perspective on her Son, and also to value it.But like all relationships in life, they don't happen by osmosis, you have to work on them.This is one I have found worthy of the effort. It's the world's best two-fer. You don't just get to know Mary by talking to her, she also helps you to get to know Jesus.Not a bad deal.

I also think she is the only human who can be trusted to give an accurate self-description in the whole  history of humanity. If I am not mistaken the only thing she ever claimed about herself was that on her own merits, she was lowly. She then describes what being in synch with God has done for her. She doesn’t even seem disappointed that she is lowly! Just honest about it. Gosh, most days I think I am just terrific,  but when I actually assess the damage I have inflicted in my thoughts, and in my words, in what I have done, and what I have failed to do- I am likely to be devastated by what a rat I am.

I also love that she is a woman. She is a perfect woman with womanly thoughts, feelings, and inspirations. How nice of God to even the playing field just a bit after that original sin debacle, and let us know he does not consider us second class citizens after all! I could tell you a whole lot of interesting stories about how she has influenced my life, but maybe it is best to simply say she does influence my life, regularly. She is a part of it, just as surely as Fred and the kids are.

And I am better for knowing her.


  1. When we went to Italy a few years ago and spent two weeks exploring museums and art-filled churches, one of the things that turned out to be fascinating was comparing the portrayal of the Virgin in different paintings of the Annunciation. In some, she was a poor peasant teenager, in others a richly gowned queen-in-waiting. Some artists depicted her as overwhelmed; others humbly confident. In Leonardo's, she seemed downright skeptical, as if she were saying, "You do know, Mr. Gabriel, that I had my own plans for my life?"

    The one thing I found rather disappointing was how few depictions of St. Joseph there were by comparison. Maybe he didn't like having his picture taken.

  2. Well Ranger Bob, Imagine living in a household w/ two perfect people? It is difficult enough for me living w one...Yikes, it can be humbling. But just think when it happens to be true!

  3. Good point! Hope St. Joe had a basement with a nice workshop to hide in.