Thursday, January 01, 2009

"Jesus, please come into my heart.
(but I'll need you to leave your mom outside...)"

As well as being New Year’s Day, today is the octave of Christmas and the feast of Mary, Mother of God.
Non-Catholic visitors at Catholic apologetics sites frequently have a very tough time with Mary. So worried are they about putting one toe over the line from ‘honor’ to ‘worship’, that they often conclude it’s better to just ignore her completely. Except at Christmas, when she’s allowed to be in the Nativity scene. And on Good Friday, at the crucifixion. The rest of the time, though, she’s kept thoroughly in the background.
(And let's not even start on the whole Mary= Ishtar thing. I don't have time to discuss religious types right now.)
In fact, some of the explanations for the downplay of Mary cite Jesus: He called her ‘Woman’ at the miracle of Cana, He announced that his followers (and she wasn’t?) were more his family than his own flesh and blood and so on. I’m sure if they thought this through properly, the idea that Jesus really didn’t like his mother much would seem as grotesque to them as it does to us.
At the same time, we recognize that our NCC brethren want the Lord to get all the praise and worship due to him. We do, too. In fact, every honor we give to Mary is because of Jesus and her relationship with Him.
“But you go way overboard! There shouldn’t be so much emphasis on Mary!” Well, sure. People are always capable of getting off track. Which is why the Church tries very hard to be specific about what does and doesn’t constitute acceptable Maryology, and to curb abuses when they occur.
My daughter wrote me a birthday post on her blog recently. She said I was the ‘best Mom and the best Mimi in the whole world’. That is, of course, not strictly true. There are many mothers and grandmas in the world who do a much better job than I do. It would have been more accurate to write “within my limited experience of mothers, I think you do a more than adequate job”. But it wouldn’t have warmed my heart quite so much…
But Mary is “the best Mom in the whole world” Those qualities that made her worthy to be His mother are the same qualities for which we love her. The traditions about her were started by people who had actually known her on earth. And every family- and Christians are a family- needs a mother to be complete. Not in an ‘Earth Goddess” way, but in the way that all human hearts hunger for. Jesus knew what we needed when he looked down from the cross and gave His mother to us all, symbolized in John, the beloved disciple.
God’s Mother is our mother, too. What’s not to celebrate about that?

Happy New Year, all!


julie said...

A lovely and thoughtful meditation, Sal.
Happy New Year!

WordGirl said...


And whose blood was Jesus shedding on the Cross is not Mary's? ;-)

WordGirl said...

Pardon, "IF not".