Through the centuries Mary has received many titles, devotions, and continues to be admired. Marian Shrines see countless pilgrims. Our Lady of Guadalupe, Lourdes, Fatima and the one that has the greatest number of pilgrims is Our Lady of Aparecida, the Patroness of Brazil. Regardless of where Mary has appeared, her message is the same—She always directs us to follow Her Son.
Mary has no other purpose. She lived her whole life to do God’s will. “Be it done unto me according to your word.” The Blessed Mother gave God a blank check—to do with her whatever He wanted. Very few human creatures are willing to make a similar commitment because we all want to be in control—especially now in our modern world with gadgets that give us the illusion that we are in control. When sickness strikes, or a natural disaster, or the breakup of a life-long relationship—we panic. Evidently there are some situations in life that we cannot control. At times life forces us to look at ourselves for who we are—helpless without God. That’s why Mary is great. She was a woman who knew that she was the maidservant of the Lord—dependent on Him—grateful to Him—willing to do anything for God, regardless of the cost. When She was confronted by painful situations she never panicked, she trusted. No doubt that Mary experienced many painful events in her life and that’s why we call her Our Lady of Sorrows; yet She never despaired, never lost hope. All of us experience pain. How we handle the emotion is up to us. With every trial comes the strength that we need.
Mary is full of grace—which means that She is full of God’s love, His strength—His mercy. The concepts are all related. To be in the state of grace is to be full of God—His Holy Spirit. Does not mean that Mary is not human. She is 100% human. The Blessed Mother was tempted, yet, never sinned. That’s why we look to her as an example to imitate. Sin is the enemy. Pride is the enemy. Although Mary knew who she was and that She was favored by God, She did not allow pride to dwell in her. Mary was humble. Takes humility to recognize our gifts and have the courage to use them in service of others.
Look around. Do we see folks trying to be like Mary? Do we know people who act like the Blessed Mother? Perhaps a few. Nevertheless—we are at least supposed to try. Since Mary is the Mother of God because She is the Mother of Jesus and Jesus is God, we are called to be like her—to bring Christ to others—to make Christ present in our world. The majority of us do not have angels speak to us about what God wants, but we know what God wants. God wants us to live our vocation, which will bring us true happiness. If we are married we are to be good husbands, good wives—faithful to our spouse. If we have children—be good parents—don’t delegate the responsibility which belongs to you. If we are single—be single—be faithful to the single life. No vocation gives us the license to do whatever we want. Every decision has consequences. When we make mistakes, best to embrace the consequences rather than blaming others for our sins. No such thing as, “The devil made me do it. Or I didn’t know what I was doing or I had temporary insanity.” Embracing our weaknesses helps us to improve. Denial only causes us to keep hiding. “Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.” We are sinners—no secret, but we do not stay down—we get up—we keep trying. God is always with us, even in our darkest hour. For when we are weak, then God is strong. We need to trust even when we do not understand.
Mary did not understand all that was said to Her, She just said “Yes”. Her “Yes” changed the world. Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.