I’m friends with a number of beautiful women who have come into the Catholic Church at various points over the past several years. One thing I’ve noticed is a common struggle to internally grasp the relationship of Mary within the Church. The idea of spending time in prayer asking Mary (or the Saints for that matter) to intercede for our intentions does not come easily to them. I think part of this comes form the tendency we have as Catholics to use confusing terminology. Saying, “I’ve been praying to Mary, or I need to pray to St. Joseph, etc” is a bit deceiving. In reality what we mean is, “I’ve been asking Mary/St.Joseph/etc. to intercede for me or to pray for me.” Even when praying the rosary, though we are obviously and beautifully honoring Mary as the mother of God, we are not worshiping her or praying TO her. We say “Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners,” asking Mary to pray for us both now and at the hour of our death. Just as we ask our living family and friends to pray for us when in need, we too can ask those who have gone before us to intercede in this way.
But this struggle I’ve witnessed has forced me to ask myself why it is that I don’t struggle more in this regard? And beyond that, why am I so drawn to praying with and through Mary vs always taking my intentions directly and solely, to God.
One thing that has always stuck with me is Jesus’ first miracle, the Story of Cana. Mary tells Jesus they have run out of wine and when He asks her how this concerns Him when His hour has not yet come, she simply tells the servants to do whatever He asks. As someone with no theological training (disclaimer alert!!) this is such a beautiful testimony to Christ’s love of His Mother. I know there are significantly more in-depth meanings to this interaction but this has always stood out for me as being, in part, a testimony to the power of prayer from those already in full communion with Christ and the Blessed Mother in particular.
The second part of my relationship with Mary that I never expected, came to me after having our first child. I’ve always struggled to feel connected to Jesus and the power of the crucifixion…the unimaginable sacrifice He made for all of us. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always struggled with feeling that connection to Christ in a relatable way. Like He’s there but I don’t really “know” him enough to feel as deeply connected as I should…if that makes sense? However once we had our first child and I started settling into motherhood, meditating on the sorrowful mysteries brought an entirely new depth I never anticipated. Suddenly Jesus wasn’t so hard for me to grasp and relate to. He was Mary’s Son. She carried Him, gave birth to Him, raised Him and cared for Him in His youth. She loved Him with an intensity I could now somewhat grasp. As a mother I could only fathom watching my child walk the path that Christ walked. I could visualize myself sitting at the foot of the cross, looking up at Him through Mary’s eyes…imagining what she must have felt looking up at her Son. Viewing Christ’s life and Crucifixion through His mother’s eyes was a truly faith changing experience for me.
If you are feeling a curiosity toward deepening your relationship with the Blessed Mother I’d encourage you to listen to that call. Consider talking with her more often, asking for her guidance, taking her your intentions. And do so without fear. The most beautiful part of cultivating a relationship with the Blessed Mother is that she will ONLY serve to bring you closer to her Son.