In the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I believe there are three important biblical events that define her mission and role in Salvation History – the Annunciation, the Wedding Feast at Cana, and Jesus’ Crucifixion. Mary plays a major role in each of these revealed events, first, because she is the Immaculate Virgin and Mother of God, and second, because these events help define her actions in the life of the Church after the Resurrection and Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Each of these events run in conjunction with one another and continue to provide for us Mary’s important role in the life of Jesus Christ and His Bride, the Church.
Being that this is my 100th “Mondays with Mary”, I would like to present to you not only my love for the Blessed Virgin Mary, but also for the only Pope to have the letter “M” on his papal shield, the soon-to-be Pope St. John Paul II. The reason I write this blog and work as the Director of Adult Evangelization and Catechesis at Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church is because of the great influence John Paul II has had on my life.
Below are six quotes from Pope St. John Paul II focusing on the three events in the life of Mary I mentioned above. Since we are in Holy Week and looking towards Good Friday, each of the quotes corresponds to Mary’s presence at the foot of the cross. It is at the foot of the cross that Mary’s maternal mediation, her universal care for all Christians and all humanity takes effect.
“…How poor she was on Bethlehem night and how poor on Calvary! How obedient she was at the moment of the Annunciation, and then – at the foot of the cross – obedient even to the point of assenting to the death of her Son, who became obedient ‘unto death’! How dedicated she was in all her earthly life to the cause of the kingdom of heaven through most chaste love.” – Redemptoris Donum, 17
“…The handmaid of the Lord in the poverty of the anawim, the Mother of Fair love from Bethlehem to Calvary and beyond, the obedient virgin whose “yes” to God changed our history, the contemplative who kept all of these things in her heart, the missionary hurrying to Hebron, the one who was sensitive to the needs at Cana, the steadfast witness at the foot of the cross, the center of unity which held the young Church together in its expectation of the Holy Spirit – Mary showed throughout her life all those values to which religious consecration is directed…” – Essential Elements in the Church’s Teaching on the Religious Life…, 53
“The words uttered by Jesus from the cross signifying the motherhood of her who bore Christ finds a “new” continuation in the Church and through the Church, symbolized and represented by John. In this way, she who as the one “full of grace” was brought into the mystery of Christ in order to be his Mother and the Holy Mother of God…” – Redemptoris Mater, 24
“On the cross Christ said: ‘Woman, behold your son!’ With these words he opened in a new way his Mother’s heart. A little later, the Roman soldier’s spear pierced the side of the Crucified one. That pierced heart became a sign of the Redemption achieved through the death of the Lamb of God.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary – opened with the words ‘Woman, behold your son!’ – is spiritually united with the heart of her Son, opened by the soldiers spear. Mary’s heart was opened by the same love for man and for the world with which Christ loved man and the world, offering himself for them on the cross, until the soldier’s spear struck that blow.
Consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means drawing near, through the Mother’s intercession, to the very Fountain of Life that sprang fourth from Golgotha. This Fountain pours fourth unceasingly redemption and grace. In it reparation is made consensually for the sins of the world. It is the ceaseless source of new life and holiness.” – Address, Fatima, May 13, 1982
“…Later, all the generations of disciples, of those who confess and love Christ, like the Apostle John, spiritually took this Mother to their own homes, and she was thus included in the history of salvation and in the Church’s mission from the very beginning, that is, from the moment of the Annunciation. Accordingly, we who form today’s generation of disciples of Christ all wish to unite ourselves with her in a special way. We do so with all our attachment to our ancient tradition and also with full respect and love for the members of all the Christian communities.” – Redemptoris Hominis, 22
“…Standing by the cross’ (Jn. 19:25), Mary shares in the gift which the Son makes of himself: she offers Jesus, gives him over, and begets him to the end for our sake. The ‘yes’ spoken on the day of the Annunciation reaches full maturity on the day of the cross, when the time comes for Mary to receive the beget as her children all those who become disciples, pouring out upon them the saving love of her Son: ‘When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple who he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold you son!’ (Jn 19:26). – Evangelium Vitae, 103
During this Holiest of All Weeks, let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to walk with us as she walked with Christ to Calvary. Let us petition her to assist in the carrying of our crosses and that the grace poured out upon Calvary on Good Friday will be made readily available to us through the sacramental life of the Church – most especially in the sacrifice of the Holy Mass and through the Mediatrix of all Graces.
All Praise and Thanksgiving to Jesus Christ! This is my 100th “Mondays with Mary”. To read the other 99 blog posts, check out the “Mondays with Mary” page. Thank you to everyone who reads these posts and have shared them with others over nearly two years. We honor our Our Lord by loving and honoring His Holy Mother, our Mother, the Theotokos.