What’s Up with Catholics & Mary?



I was reading a reflection by Father Patrick Butler, L.C. on the Laudate App. about Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

Have you ever been at a family reunion where the elders attending were given a "pride of place"?  You know what I'm talking about.  Everyone moves in their direction to talk to them, recognizing there is something special in their presence.  They are cherished not only because they are the last surviving members of the original cast, but we know instinctively that much of our history lies within them.  They have cared for the family and looked after all of us for years.  They are the glue that has held us together during difficult, painful times and they have lovingly nurtured each of us into adulthood.

At our family reunions, that has always been the case, but this year it will be different because the last of our "elders" has passed away.  We hope that we can hold together because of what they gave us and the memories we share.

I was thinking about this while reading a reflection about Mary the Mother of Jesus that brought to light for me a very intimate picture of Mary following the death of Jesus.  This week we celebrated the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, and I was reading about the scene at the cross where Jesus "bequeaths" Mary to his beloved disciple, believed to be the evangelist John.

I read:

"John took his responsibility for Mary seriously, taking her into his own home.  Home for John was nothing less than the Church that Jesus founded.  Mary was to have the pride of place there, as Jesus' mother, and as she who knew, loved and served him best.  She also took her role seriously, so seriously that she immediately perceived that all those she encountered were her adoptive sons and daughters.  In this house that is the Church, Mary is the sweetness of the traditional saying, "Home, sweet home."

If you have ever struggled with understanding why the Catholic Church holds Mary in such honor (we do not worship her, though, as is often thought), this is a beautiful explanation.  Can you imagine how Mary would have been cherished, especially following the death of Jesus?  It is not hard to see why she would continue, even today, to hold a special place in the hearts of her children, as we gather as one holy, catholic, apostolic Church.

I know for myself, anyway, that whenever one of our children needs a motherly touch, or protection, and I am physically distanced from them, I place them in Mary's care, knowing that as a mother, she will "never abandon her children."

May you come to truly embrace Mary, Mother of the Church.

Janet Cassidy



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