Sixth Sunday of Easter (Mother’s Day)

Once again I would like to wish all mothers a happy Mother’s Day.  May the Lord pour His grace upon all mothers on this day dedicated to honoring them.  It is good for us also to remember to honor Our Lady in some way today.  Jesus gave her to us all to be our Mother.  As we honor our biological mothers this day, we should not forget to honor our spiritual mother.  It is quite fitting that Mother’s Day falls within the month of May, a month dedicated in a special way to the Mother of Our Lord, and the Mother of us all, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Like many converts, I personally had a difficult time figuring out Marian devotion as I was coming into the Catholic Faith.  Protestants are taught that honoring Mary somehow diminishes the honor that we show Jesus.  Of course we know that that is simply not true.  Mary and Jesus are not in competition with one another.  The Son is not found apart from His Mother.  The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary beat in perfect union.  Our Lord gave us His Mother to be our Mother; He wants us to honor her.  Mary doesn’t keep anything for herself, besides, any honor that we give to Mary, ultimately is given to God, Who has done great things for her.

Marian devotion doesn’t take away from the honor given to Jesus.  All the greatness of Mary, she received from God.  When we praise her, we praise what God has done in her and through her.  Mary always brings us to Jesus.  Her greatest desire is that we be ever more closely united to her Son, that we come to imitate Him ever more perfectly.  She wants to see each one of our hearts come to perfectly resemble the Heart of her Son.  She obtains many graces for us, in order that we may grow closer to God.  Yet many more graces are available to us if we would only ask for them.

Mary is, for us, a most powerful intercessor with the Lord.  No one was ever closer to Jesus, than His Mother.  She carried Him in her womb for nine months.  Mary wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, she fed Him, she carried Him in her arms.  Mary took Him to the Temple, she protected Him and she taught Him.  She was there when He learned to walk; she was there when He said His first words.  She poured upon Him all the tenderness of the best of mothers as He grew up.  She was there when He performed His first public miracle, in fact, it was at her request that He performed it and His disciples began to believe in Him.  She was there at the foot of the Cross, when all the Apostles save Saint John abandoned Him.  She was near her Son as He was lifted up upon the Cross and died in order to win our Salvation.  Now, in Heaven, Mary sits at Jesus’ right hand.  Jesus loves His Mother.  She was perfectly obedient to Him at every moment of her life.  Jesus loves her and He refuses her nothing.

As I mentioned, Mary was a difficult thing for me to grasp as I was coming into the Church.  There were two things that really opened my heart.  They weren’t theological arguments, or Biblical proofs, although there are plenty of those available, to be sure.  The first point that forced me to examine the question more closely was John Paul the Second’s great Marian devotion.  The thing drew me to the Catholic Church, was the fact that it was able to teach with the Authority of Christ.  Once I learned that Jesus Christ only founded One Church, and that He entrusted His Authority to that Church, that the Church could teach in the name of Jesus, and was guided by the Holy Spirit, I knew that I had to belong to that Church.  I knew that the way that the Catholic Church today is connected back to Jesus is through an unbroken succession of bishops and Popes that extends back to the Apostles and ultimately to Jesus Himself.  I knew that John Paul II was the successor of Saint Peter, who had been given the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.  I knew that the Pope was the Vicar of Christ on earth and that because Our Lord promised the Holy Spirit to Saint Peter and the Apostles, the Pope could not teach error in area of Faith and morals.  I also knew that John Paul II had a profound devotion to Mary.  That fact forced me to keep an open mind.

The thing that ultimately changed my heart, of course, was God’s grace.  There was one moment that I remember very clearly, when I realized that Mary’s whole mission is to draw people closer to God.  I remember watching a movie about Fatima.  As I began watching the movie, I was highly skeptical.  Even though it was not a very high quality movie, and the graphics were poorly done, when the movie portrayed the great miracle of the sun my heart was moved.  It is estimated that one hundred thousand people witnessed that miracle in Fatima and many hundreds of thousands of people have been drawn closer to God because of Fatima since.  Mary isn’t an obstacle to union with God: she helps people grow closer to God.  That is when I began to ask Our Lady to pray for me, that she would help me in my journey through this valley of tears.

We should all fly to Our Blessed Mother with great confidence for all of our needs.  She is a most powerful intercessor for us.  Just as at the Wedding Feast of Cana, she continually intercedes for us with her Son, even though we may not be aware of it.  We should actively seek out her assistance.  She is a Mother ready at every moment to come to our aid if we will only ask for her help.  She is your Mother, she loves you and she wants you to be think of her; she wants to help you grow closer to Jesus.  Let us all entrust ourselves to her motherly care today: Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was ever left unaided.  Inspired by this confidence, we fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, our mother; to thee do we come, before thee we stand, sinful and sorrowful.  O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in the clemency hear and answer them.  Amen.