When St. Teresa of Calcutta was asked by a reporter, “Why do you Catholics love Mary so much?” Her simple but beautiful response was “No Mary, no Jesus.”
I was reminded recently by a dear friend that Mary ALWAYS leads us to Jesus. I’m thankful to send up my sighs to the Blessed Mother, most gracious advocate.
But I wasn’t always faithful. In the ignorance of my youth, I began to believe the lies of the experts which become the lies of the majority culture.
I began to think that maybe Catholicism was patriarchal OR white OR oppressive. In tuning into the “experts,” I started to tune out God. And with selective free-willed amnesia, I began to forget OUR story, the story of salvation, the story of God made incarnate through a teen Mom from a powerless and poor family in the Middle East.
And even in spite of my own personal story, a story of the Catholic Church being the only “place” that’s treated me with inherent dignity, personhood and love, I started to believe the arguments of the experts over the actions of the authentically faithful.
But. When I was pregnant with our fourth child, Maria, I noticed the image of Maria of Guadalupe I had hanging in the kitchen of our eastside house and something happened.
Something miraculous. I always loved that image from Juan Diego’s tilma, but suddenly I saw her with fresh eyes and a new sense of wonder. Because I realized in that moment that God became human through the obedient “yes” of Mary/Maria, Jesus’ Mom, Theotokos (Mother of God), the Blessed Mother. And then through the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, it dawned on me that she appeared, not to the wealthy white oppressive colonists, but to a native brown farmer. And thus she brought millions of people to Jesus, her Son.
And for me, as a mother who has said “yes” to unplanned pregnancy, and as a mother who has watched her children suffer in a culture that crucifies and disposes of what is sacred, including innocent human life, I realized Mary deeply understands the painful grief of sacrifice . . . and so in that moment, I began to turn to Mary, our Blessed Mother and said, “Oh clement, oh loving, oh SWEET Virgin Mary, pray for us so that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”
And in a time where I felt abandoned by the world around me, Mary called me home to her Son, Jesus. She called me HOME to Rome, home to the one holy catholic and apostolic church. She wrapped her mantle around me and comforted me like only a mother can do. And she must have asked her Son to work a miracle in my life because He did.
Today is the feast of the Assumption. We celebrate that she was assumed into heaven, body and soul. And we sing, salve Regina! Hail Holy Queen! Happy Assumption! 💕
*Also, this photo is from the Church of the Assumption in St. Paul, where we were parishioners for many many years.