Why Mary Is So Special To Catholics

Why Mary Is So Special To Catholics

When we see Mary in relation to the Holy Spirit, we are able to understand how important her role is--in the Church, and to every Catholic.

“The Spirit changes those in whom he comes to dwell; he so transforms them that they begin to live a completely new kind of life” (St Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John).  The role of the Spirit is not only to make us holy, but also to give us a mission in the Church.

The Holy Spirit first came upon Mary at her Immaculate Conception, preserving her from original sin and filling her with grace. She was filled with the Spirit all through her life, but at certain moments received a greater outpouring of the Spirit:  at the Annunciation, on Calvary, and on Pentecost. At each of these moments the Holy Spirit changed Mary. In what way and why did it matter?

The Annunciation

The angel Gabriel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God” (Lk 1:35). At that moment when Mary gave her consent, she became the Mother of God by becoming the mother of Jesus, who is God. That was a huge change for her, unique in the history of the human race. But that shouldn’t make us feel that Mary is distant from us. The mission she received then was not so much for herself but for us. Her mission was to give us Jesus in the flesh, the incarnate Son of God who came to earth to free us from our sins. The mission of Jesus depended on Mary. Without her, we wouldn’t have him. For many Christians, Mary’s mission stops here. But the Gospel leads us deeper.

On Calvary

“Standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home” (Jn 19:25-27) What was going on? Certainly Jesus cared about his mother’s welfare and as a loving son wanted to provide for her. But John’s Gospel has layers of meaning, so there’s more to it.

The beloved disciple is never named in the Gospel. Many think that is because he represents the beloved disciples of every age, that is, all of us. Jesus was telling the disciple not just to take care of his mother, but also to accept her into his life of faith. In telling Mary “Here is your son,” Jesus was giving her many spiritual sons and daughters who would follow Jesus throughout the ages. Mary would help the beloved disciple more than he could help her, because of her spiritual motherhood.

With that gesture, Jesus finished his mission on earth and the Gospel tells us “Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (Jn 19:30). Certainly that means that he died. But again, the text has a deeper meaning. Jesus is handing over the Holy Spirit to the Church, represented there by his mother and the beloved disciple (see I Believe in the Holy Spirit, Yves Congar, p. 52). This will become more definitive after Easter, but John is bringing out a connection between Jesus’ death on the cross and the giving of the Holy Spirit. Mary, receiving the Spirit again, is changed and is given the new mission of being the mother of the beloved disciples and indeed all of us.

Pentecost

Finally, on Pentecost we find Mary with the disciples gathered in the Upper Room, and “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4). This new outpouring of the Holy Spirit again brought to Mary a new change and a new mission. This has to do with her role in the Church. Vatican II said of Mary that “the Blessed Virgin is also intimately united with the Church: the Mother of God is a figure of the Church in the matter of faith, charity, and perfect union with Christ” (Lumen Gentium, no. 63).

Mary received a new motherhood in the order of grace (see John Paul, Mother of the Redeemer) by which she leads us to a deeper knowledge and love of her son, Jesus. As disciples, the more we ourselves are filled with the Holy Spirit, the more we will be changed to fulfill the mission God gives us. And the more we welcome Mary into our own lives as disciples, the more effective we will be.

Mary, Queen of Apostles, pray for us!

 

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Comments

  • THANK YOU MOTHER MARY OUR QUEEN ORA PRO NOBIS, TOTUS TUUS YOUR LOVING SERVANT, REY
    9/22/2016 10:02:25 AM Reply
  • Greetings Sr. Marianne trust all is well many thanks for the sharing of our blessed Mother Mary; it’s very comforting to know she is also our Mother who will comfort us in our difficult times. May our Lord carry you and all the sisters gentle through each day… Take care.
    9/1/2016 6:30:59 PM Reply
  • Sam
    Thank you sisters for a wonderful online mission, I look forward to reading your comments each week. May God bless you all and this beautiful online mission.
    9/1/2016 11:18:30 AM Reply
  • Beautiful and prayerful, dear Sister! Glad to read you and see your gentle face!!! Sr. M. Jean Frisk
    8/31/2016 11:33:29 AM Reply
  • Thank you for shedding His light of the importance of Mother Mary in the life of the church. Too many believe Christians worship her, which is so not true. The Holy Spirit shows you the importance of prayer and the intersession created through said prayer. Why not ask Mother Mary to intercede for us? To give us examples, interventions and hope! In a fallen world, who doesn't want help? She is also a great example on how to live. She has appeared many times to many peoples since her Assumption, always leading us to trust and believe in Jesus; thank you Mary for showing me my Savior, Confessor, Pastor, Lord and Master, BFF, Jesus Christ!
    8/30/2016 4:54:41 PM Reply
  • Would like to know and read more the holiness of the Blessed Virgin Mary
    8/2/2016 4:29:34 AM Reply

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