Marian Bridge: Weekly Message for 05/01/2018

Dear Friends in Christ,

Every so often a reader sends in a question about why Catholics esteem the Blessed Virgin Mary so much. They wonder if our devotion steals from the worship that is owed to Christ.

For the faithful who have a Marian devotion, the question can seem odd. It’s like asking someone why he is fond of his own mom.

In fact, we imitate Christ by our devotion to the woman he himself loved so dearly. Even amid his agony on the cross, one of Jesus’ last concerns was that his Mother not be left alone.

So, he entrusted Mary to us as our Mother. This is what the Church has long understood by Our Lord’s words, “Woman, behold your son” (John 19:26).

And the Blessed Virgin’s role in salvation history certainly isn’t for sentimental reasons. Mary’s humanity helps undergird the Church’s teaching that Jesus, in addition to being true God, is true man.

As a young Jew who became Mother of the Messiah she binds the chosen people of the Old Testament with the people of the new covenant, Judaism with Christianity. She is, as it were, a living bridge between the Old and New Testaments.

Our Lady also helps to humanize our beliefs and the Church. As Cardinal Ratzinger once said, “If Mary no longer finds a place in many theologies and ecclesiologies, the reason is obvious: they have reduced faith to an abstraction. And an abstraction does not need a Mother.”

This month of May, traditionally dedicated to Mary, is a fitting time to contemplate her simplicity and her dedication to the will of God and to her beloved Son.

To delve into this topic you might find the Retreat Guide “Welcoming the Word” helpful. It might help you cherish those other words of Jesus, “Behold, your Mother.”

In Christ,
Father Edward McIlmail, LC
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