Why do we need Mary?
Why Mary? Because God chose Mary to become the mother of His son
Just as a chosen person is groomed for an important and worthy task, I believe that our Heavenly Father groomed and prepared Mary for the birth of His son for our salvation and redemption. God the Father willed that Mary be without the stain of original sin and He bestowed upon her the grace of being conceived immaculately.
With His omnipotence, He could have chosen any other means for Jesus to come into this world, or any other human being to ‘bring’ Jesus into this world. “For nothing is impossible for God” (Luke 1:37). However, God chose the simple and humble Mary out of the swarm of humanity to become the mother of His only begotten son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, if God chose Mary to bring Jesus into this world, why should we not choose her as the means to bring Jesus into our lives?
Why Mary? Because Jesus came to us through Mary
In many Catholic churches around the world, the church bells ring at 6 AM, 12 noon and
6 PM. It’s the time of the Angelus prayer, evoking the joyful mystery of the Annunciation of the Lord to Mary by the archangel Gabriel. Whenever we pray this prayer or when we contemplate the joyful mystery of the Annunciation in the Holy Rosary, we are given a glimpse of Mary’s humility and her absolute obedience when she said an unconditional ‘yes’ to the will of God.
God the Father needed a human being, who was flawlessly perfect in humility and docility, to be the mother of Jesus. Someone worthy enough to be the mother of Jesus, the Son of God, who humbled himself to become one of us, in deference to the wishes of the Father. This ultimate act of obedience of Lord Jesus is remembered at every mass when the gifts of bread and wine are being prepared and offered to God, and the priest says, “By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.”
We hear of the phrase, “like mother, like son.” In the case of Jesus and Mary, it is “like son, like mother” – both humble, meek and obedient to the will of God the Father. Hence, if God the Son came to us into this world as a child of Mary, why should we not need Mary as our mother?
Why Mary? Because she is the surest, easiest and shortest way to Jesus
As Catholics, we are blessed to have the protection and guidance of Mother Mary. However, there may be times when one is tempted to think, “Why do I need Mary? Why can’t I go directly to Jesus?” That very thought itself contains a hint of pride and arrogance.
“I don’t need you. I can do this by myself.” This is the anthem that is sung in the present- day culture by spouses to one another, by children to parents, and it is the refrain that is heard often everywhere: in families, workplaces and even churches. It reflects self-sufficiency and independence which is lauded in today’s world, but underlying these ‘admirable’ qualities is a sense of pride and ego.
This is not different from those times when we tell our heavenly Mother, “We don’t need you. We can do this by ourselves and approach the throne of grace without you.” It would serve us well to remember that Jesus, even though He was God and did not need Mary, humbled Himself to become her son and obeyed her, honoured her, loved her and definitely He would have needed her protection and care in His infancy, childhood and youth. So, if we need to follow in our Saviour’s footsteps, then we need Mary, and most importantly, we need her protection and guidance.
In his book ‘True Devotion to Mary’, St. Louis de Montfort, the originator of total consecration to Mary, says that “Mary is the easiest, shortest and most perfect way of approaching Jesus.”
Why Mary? Because she is the model of motherhood
We do not read much about Mary in the scriptures. One may even surmise that she led an unremarkable life by worldly standards – like most wives and mothers of her time, she must have cooked, cleaned, shopped, fetched water from the well, cared for her family, and looked after their needs and well-being. Very importantly, like most mothers, she must have taught Jesus her faith, beliefs, practices and customs. Yes, it’s hard to imagine that Jesus, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3), would have needed Mary to teach Him. However, if God willed that Jesus be born in a family, God the Father must have also willed that Mary and Joseph impart their faith and beliefs to Jesus.
Mary is an important role-model for all mothers. Motherhood may seem like a thankless job, at times. We may not know why our children behave the way they do sometimes – Mary didn’t either when Jesus got lost and then was found in the temple. However, the vocation of motherhood will always bear fruit just as Mary’s did. We can look at Mary’s life, and learn and follow. We are called to give ourselves freely to our children just as Mary did. Also, importantly, we are called to impart our faith to our children. Most of all, like Mary, we are invited to walk with them and be present to them in their joy, sorrow, pain, suffering and glory.
Why Mary? Because she teaches us to trust God.
Hidden and silent – these are the words that come to mind when we think of Mary. We do not find too many references to Mary in the scriptures. In fact, we have more information and knowledge about the apostles and others than Mary. Thus, Mary’s life was as hidden a life as that of Jesus in his first thirty years, and as hidden as Jesus is today in the Eucharist.
In the vocabulary of the present-day world, hidden and silent are not favoured words. By the world’s standards, our lives amount to nothing if we have not achieved anything worthwhile, and more importantly, if others do not know about our achievements. However, sometimes, in spite of our talents and capabilities, our dreams may not realize fruition and the course we chart for ourselves may not veer the way we imagined it to be. This may lead to feelings of despair and hopelessness.
This is why we need Mary again. She shows us how to carry our own cross with grace and unwavering faith. When we look at Mary’s life, which was filled with struggles, obstacles, disappointments and ordinariness, we can gain solace from the fact that God has a plan for each of us, his children. We need Mary as our model to trust God unconditionally and not lose hope, even when we stand at the Calvary of our lives, confident in the knowledge that the joy of the resurrection is near.
Mitha DeCunha is a grateful wife and a mother of two living in Milton, Ontario. Apart from this, she works as an early childhood educator in a Catholic school board. Motherhood, she believes, is a vocation, a blessing and a journey. In this journey, she draws inspiration from Mother Mary. Mitha is present to her children fully and lovingly in their joy and sorrow, suffering and success.