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Not being able to relate to Mary is a common feeling at times… it does not make you a bad Catholic! Especially for those of us who are women, and feel the impression that perhaps we must “be perfect the way Mary was perfect!” I know… because I struggled to I get her in my past. Keep in mind that although the Vatican has approved Marian apparitions since her death and ascension into Heaven, they don’t require any of us to believe in any of the apparitions in order to “be a good Catholic.”
Throughout my journey of Catholicism, and my study of Mary, I realized she wasn’t as meek as we typically, initially believe. First, the woman agreed to become the mother of God, even though she was not married. She risked her life, to bring the Savior into the world! She had a choice, and she accepted the request made to her.
She had a choice, and she accepted the request made to her.
But the biggest example of her strength I would point to, is her instruction at the Wedding Feast of Cana – in which Jesus informs her in John 2:4, “My hour has not yet come.” And, His mother, in John 2:5 simply, “said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.'” Essentially, she recognizes His time has come before He even recognized it – and, gave Him a gentle shove into His public ministry. I like to think she recognized He was ready, even when He didn’t.
She was far from meek, as she stood by and watched her Son travel His path toward Calvary, and subsequently die on the Cross.
Perhaps it may also help to recognize, although she was perfect, she needed Jesus’ saving grace that we all need. Only through Him was she able to be saved. And, my chaplain also pointed out to me recently – her perfection, and inability to be tempted by the devil, was because her soul was without the stain of Original Sin. I took his guidance to mean her personality and approach to life’s situations were vastly different than ours would be.
although she was perfect, she needed Jesus’ saving grace that we all need.
Yet, through her, we do see the embodiment of humility. And, that is what we must focus on when we look at Mary. She is the shining example – she is the perfect (literally and figuratively) example of having true faith, trust, and fidelity in God and His plans. Think of how, when Jesus was presented in the Temple as a baby, her heart was pierced with a thousand swords when Simeon cautioned her of what was to come. She carried “all these things in her heart.” She worried, she grieved; yet, she took those worries and grievances to God alone – she shared herself, wholly, to God.
And, that is what we are challenged to emulate… challenged being the operative word!
He does ask we give Him our everything… the same way Mary gave her all!
God is not expecting perfection from us, but He does ask we give Him our everything… the same way Mary gave her all! And, as Jesus hung on the Cross, He gave her to us to be our mother – which is her role now.
To show us, in a faithful, loving, motherly manner, the way to Christ. She leads us to Him.
It doesn’t make you a bad Catholic to struggle to connect with her… it makes you human.
Anni is a proud Army wife, and social worker turned stay at home mother to two young children. She currently blogs about Catholicism, parenting, and the military lifestyle at www.beautifulcamouflage.com. You can also follow her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook at “A Beautiful, Camouflaged Mess of A Life.”