My 10-month-old son’s face lights up when he sees me come into a room. He gets excited because he absolutely trusts that I’m going to walk over to him and scoop him up. And when I do, he puts his little arm around my neck and pats my shoulder, and I can’t help but be overcome with love for him. If he could talk, in that moment I’d probably do whatever he asked.
Reflecting on this experience reminds me of a conversation I had with my three older daughters in the minivan on the way to school last week. We had just prayed a Hail Mary, and one of my daughters asked why we pray to Mary. They know that Mary is Jesus’ mother and so also is a mother to all of us.
“When you ask me to help you reach something high or move something heavy, do you expect that I will come help you?” I asked the girls. They agreed that they did, and I asked them another question.
“And if I ask you to do something for me, like to go grab a fresh diaper for your baby brother, do you want to help me?”
Once again, they said they did.
“We ask Mary to help us because we know she loves us and wants to help us. And the way she helps us is by asking her son, Jesus, to help us. He wants to help us anyway, but he also wants to make his mother happy,” I said.
Clearly, there is much more to Marian theology than what we discussed, but the girls are only 3, 5 and 7, and we were about to pull into the school’s parking lot. But hopefully our brief conversation will spark further discussions down the road.
Burke is a staff writer for the Catholic Courier.