“Hail, full of grace; the Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28)
Mother Mary is prominent in our Catholic faith, but often looked over. We know who she is, and what she stands for, but how can we truly use her as a key role in growing in our faith? In the Church, May is a month in which we honor Mary and look to her as an example of how to love and genuinely follow Jesus.
When the angel Gabriel speaks to Mary in Luke 1, we see a glimpse of how important Mary is to the Father. “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Song of the most high…” (Luke 1: 31-32) God the Father, the Creator of the entire universe entrusting this poor, humble woman to bear the Son of God. We have to think that this meant she was doing something right.
What can we learn from our Mother?
Surrender. Mary had to give her full and complete “yes” to the Father when He told her she was to carry Jesus. How many times do we feel as though God is giving us too big of a project? “Oh me, I could never do that. That mission isn’t for me.” There is no way Mary could completely understand what the Father was to do, but she did have to trust Him and let Him guide her through it.
Humility. Mary was a woman who stayed humble her whole life. We first see this when she gives birth in a lowly stable. Although she didn’t choose this, she accepts it as the Father’s will and humbly gives birth to Jesus. “…and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” (Luke 2:7) We see this example of humility throughout her life as she worships the King. Not only was she Jesus’ Mother, but Mary was also a child of God. She never tried to show off, but stayed in purity to glorify the Lord by her life.
Genuine love. Later in Mary’s life, she has to watch her son die a brutal death on the Cross. “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” (John 19: 25-27) Mary stayed at the Cross up until and following Jesus’ death. This shows us her love both for Jesus as the Son of God and as her son. She stuck with him through the thick and thin. She did not abandon Him when times got tough. At parts of the Rosary, I even imagine crying at the bottom of the Cross of Jesus. She had a love that was sacrificial, whole, and genuine.
In no way do we “worship” Mary, but we venerate her and learn from her. We can gain many valuable lessons by looking to her example, and in turn learning to love the Father more and more.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.