Mary helps us keep our eyes on Christ
Now that the Christmas season is over and we’re back to Ordinary Time, I’m left facing the 10th anniversary of my mother’s death on Jan. 22. My thoughts have turned to her in these last few days, but not without accompanying visits of tenderness from Mary, my mother in heaven.
As a cradle Catholic, I was raised with a devotion to Mary. Then as I grew into young adulthood, I leaned away from Catholicism and explored other faiths. But during all my time “wandering in the desert,” I kept a secret devotion to her. Eventually, Jesus brought me home to him, and I know that Mary’s prayers (as well as my earthly mother’s) were very much a part of that return.
Many Protestants have the mistaken idea that Catholics sin by worshipping Mary. Some modern neo-pagans believe Catholics are worshipping their “goddess” without realizing it. Both of these ideas are false, but to truly understand Mary and why we can go to her without hesitation, we must start with Jesus:
• The Incarnation of God — fully human and fully divine — came to us through Mary’s willingness to cooperate with God’s will in complete trust. Without Mary, there is no Jesus!
• Just as at the wedding at Cana, Mary speaks to her son on our behalf, and he is delighted to give his mother the privilege of doing so.
• She says to us in our confusion and neediness, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5).
• As he was dying in agony on the cross, Jesus gave her tenderly as mother to his beloved disciple, John, and in so doing gave her to us, too.
As you meet the sorrows and joys of life, don’t be afraid to ask Mary to be your mother and help you to keep your gaze on Christ.
Elena Cambio is director of youth and young-adult ministry for the Parish of the Most Holy Name of Jesus in Elmira.