What’s the big deal about Mary?

(The following is something I posted on a forum a few days ago when someone asked why we Catholics make such a big deal about Mary. I get asked about this pretty often, so I thought I’d go ahead and re-post it here.)

I could quote a lot of doctrine and a lot of very fine writing about Mary. And that would be a good answer. But it wouldn’t really tell you why Mary is a “big deal” to me. Or why I love her. Think about it. How can you explain why you love someone to someone who doesn’t know who you’re talking about. Oh, they may know which person you’re talking about, but they don’t know them personally. It’s hard to understand why someone reveres a person when you have no experience of, no relationship with that person. Ya know? It just sounds like a bunch of words and concepts but you can’t relate to it, or to that person, at all.

I felt the same way when I was going through the conversion process. I didn’t get Mary and I didn’t get the Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament either. What changed it for me? Not all the talk in the world. I read, I listened to tapes, asked questions, took classes, studied the Catechism, the Bible. And I didn’t get it.

Until…I went to a healing service that included a Eucharistic Procession. Sr. Briege McKenna and Fr. Kevin Scallon were there and when Fr. Scallon processed with the Host exposed in the monstrance and everybody kneeled when he stopped in front of them, and then he stopped in front of me, then I realized—my eyes were opened—and I recognized Him, His Real Presence, right there in front of me and I got it! For the first time!

And when did I get it about Mary? When I got into trouble and asked her to help me (and you would laugh out loud if you had heard the preamble and prologue to my prayer—and “to pray” means “to ask”, by the way). I told her that I would pray the Rosary if she helped me, and before I got through asking, the phone rang and it was someone calling me to solve my problem and get me out of trouble. Well, I gazed upward, saying, Thank you, Blessed Mother! And I immediately bought a Rosary and started praying and it’s been my favorite prayer ever since.

Is the Rosary about Mary? No. Nothing about Mary is about Mary. Everything about Mary is about her Son, our Lord, Jesus. Everything. She was the first disciple. She was the one who was faithful no matter what. The Rosary is praying and meditating on the Life of Jesus through the eyes of the mother who loved and still loves Him. And that love is contagious. You can catch it by associating with other people who love Him too. Mary happens to be someone who loves Him more deeply than any of us can imagine. She carried Him in her womb, she faced danger to carry Him, she faced poverty and hardship to give birth to Him and to raise Him, and she stood by Him when all His apostles fled to save their own skin.

There is no other human who can teach us so much about what it means to love. She lived with Jesus, her Son, for 33 years. She knows Him like no one else has ever known Him. She has plenty to teach us when we finally realize that we have something to learn.

I hope that you will soon learn to love your Mother the way I have come to love her. Mostly I love her because when I look at her, I only see Him. That is how perfectly Mary reflects the image of Christ. That is how perfectly I wish I could reflect Him too.

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