MASS OF OUR LADAY QUEEN OF NIGERIA AS WE CELEBRATE NATIONAL MARIAN YEAR - IN COMMEMORATION OF 100 YEARS OF OUR LADY’S APPARITION AT FATIMA.
WHY I LOVE MARY
This year we are privileged to be celebrating with the Universal Catholic Church, the centenary of our Lady’s apparition at Fatima in Portugal. Veneration of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary is a normal part of the practice of our Catholic Faith. (cf. Arinze, F. Marian Veneration). Mary being the Mother of the Church is our Mother and Queen.
The old adage that “A good mother is worth a hundred schoolmasters”, can very well apply to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In this reflection I have decided to share with you some reasons why I love Mary, the Mother of Christ.
- God came to us through Mary.
The letter to the Hebrews says, “In the past, God spoke to our ancestors many times and in many ways through the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us through his son. He is the one through whom God created the Universe…(Heb 1:1-2)
This Son of God is the “Word” which became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:14). The word of God, the Son of God became flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Hence God came to us through Mary, teaching us that we can equally reach God through her.
- Mary is an Epiphany.
From the Greek roots, the word Epiphany or Theophany means manifestation of a divinity. When a divine being which by nature is invisible to human eyes makes itself visible such is designated an Epiphany. In the Christian tradition around the 4th century AD, the birth of Christ, His Baptism, the adoration of the Magi and the miracle at Cana were celebrated as epiphanies of the Lord, that is, visible manifestations of a divine being.
St Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatians, that, “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law… that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Gal4:4-5). It follows that God who is Spirit and invisible took flesh through Mary and became visible. Therefore, by manifesting the divine, the word of God, who is God (Jn. 1:1), Mary herself is an epiphany, as she makes the divine visible to us.
- Mary is Full of Grace. (She can obtain grace for us)
In the Gospel according to St. Luke, the Angel Gabriel sent from God greeted Mary, “Hail full of grace, the Lord is with you” (LK 1:28). Mary is full of grace, She has found favour with God, (Lk. 1:30).
We know that without grace, man is grass. Christ reminds us that “without me you can do nothing”, (Jn 15:5). Since Mary is full of grace she can obtain grace for us. We are sure of someone who can assist us – with grace.
- Mary effectively Intercedes for us.
In the Gospel according to St John chapter 2:1-10, we read about a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there and Jesus also was invited. When their wine ran out, the Mother of Jesus said to him, “they have no wine” (Jn. 2:3). In spite of the dialogue that followed between Mary and Jesus, Mary’s request led to the first miracle Jesus performed in the area.
It goes without saying that Mary’s intercession is always effective. She is the mother of Christ. She is the mother of God, she can always intercede for us without failing if we run to her.
- Mary Searches for a lost Child.
When Jesus was twelve years old and went with his parents to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover, Jesus stayed behind. After a days journey the parents considered him lost and started searching for him. “Three days later, they found him in the temple, (Lk 2:46).
When we are lost, Mary searches for us as she searched for Jesus. If you truly accept Mary as your mother, you may never be lost, she will always search for her lost child.
- Mary has Special Relationship with the Blessed Trinity.
Mary is a special daughter of God the Father. Beloved mother of God the Son and Beloved spouse of the Holy Spirit. The woman, Virgin daughter of God foretold by the prophets turned out to be our Blessed Mother Mary and when she was addressed by the Angel that she would be the mother of the “Son of God” (LK 1:35) she did not hesitate to accept saying, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word”, (LK 1:38).
On hearing about Elizabeth, Mary went to visit her. But Elizabeth exclaimed, “why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (LK I:43).
Remember that when Mary asked the angel, the divine messenger, about the possibility of the fulfilment of his message, to a Virgin like her, the angel assured her that “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you… (LK 1:35).
Consequently, Mary was chosen by the Father with whom she found favour, the Holy Spirit came upon her and she gave birth to the Son of the Most High, the child who will be called Holy – the Son of God.
With her special relationship with the Blessed Trinity, Mother Mary is qualified to bring us closer to God if we allow her.
- Mary: Mother and Queen of Peace.
Mary is venerated with the title Mother and Queen of Peace. This is rightly so because she gave birth to Jesus Christ who is the Prince of Peace. And Peace incarnate. St. Paul calls Jesus Christ, Our Peace (Eph. 2:14). But it was Mary who carried this “Our Peace” in her womb, and gave birth to “peace”. She is therefore the Mother of peace.
Again, Mary deserves the title Mother of Peace because she played a role in the reconciliation of humanity with God through the redemptive work of her Son – the Christ and Redeemer.
Also, Mary is venerated as Mother of peace because throughout her life, she lived according to God’s will. Peace in the Catholic Tradition means to live according to the will of God.
- A Woman of the Scriptures:
The Holy Father Emeritus Pope, Benedict XVI writes that in the Magnificat, the Virgin Mary sings the praise of the Lord in his own words. The Magnificat is entirely woven from the threads of Holy Scripture, threads drawn from the word of God. She speaks and thinks with the word of God, the word of God becomes her word and her word issues from the word of God… (cf. Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini, no. 28).
Our Mother Mary is at home with the sacred scriptures therefore at home with God Himself. Let us learn from her.
- A Woman of Mercy Mother of Mercy.
Mary is the Mother of Mercy because her Son Our Lord Jesus Christ is a true revelation of God’s mercy (cf. John Paul II. Veritatus Splendor no. 118) She is the mother of our merciful savior, the divine mercy incarnate. Mary is a recipient of God’s mercy, from the Almighty who has done great things for her. However, Mary also dispenses God’s mercy gratuitously to those who have the humility to come to her.
- A Woman of Gratitude.
In Mary we observe the closeness and unity between grace and gratitude. (cf. Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini.) Mary being full of grace as the Angel saluted her, (cf. LK. 1:28), was also full of gratitude and the Holt Spirit. Being inspired by the Spirit of God, she responded in gratitude which is the work of the Holy Spirit.
We observe that the more Mary received grace the more she gave thanks. The more she gave thanks grace and favour increased. We can learn from Mother Mary that giving thanks makes us grow in the grace and favour of God.
- What Can We Do?
Please take Mary Home as your Mother. Mary was the last gift Jesus gave to humanity. (cf. Jn. 19:26-27).
“Then he said to the disciple, Behold, your Mother”. And from that hour the disciple took her to his own house” (Jn. 19:27).
We are directed by Our Lord Jesus in union with St. John to accept Mary as our Mother and take her home – into our lives.
So be it