The Comfort of Mary
On the eve of Mother Daughter Day at CYO Camp, I find myself filled with wonder at Mary’s role in the Catholic faith. Mothers in all cultures represent and embody the caregiver. As a little girl in church, I was always drawn to Mary and the idea that she was the perfect mom, perfect caregiver. How glorious, I thought, to have the perfect mom. Not because I saw my mom lacking in any way, but more that perfection could exist and if anyone was perfect it would be Mary. As an adult I understand her role more deeply and acknowledge that I am still learning and finding my way on my own faith journey.
Recently, I was reading about the dogmas of Mary and was reminded that she is much more than a caregiver. She is truly a miracle with a specific and significant role in the church. As a woman and a mom, I find her strength and her ability to use her voice to intercede on the behalf of believers to be quite remarkable. Her role is not so different from many of the mom’s I know today.
Motherhood takes strength and voice if we are to bring our children up in the ways of goodness which can sometimes be in opposition to what others are doing.
“Of course, in the spiritual realm, the Blessed Virgin Mary plays this role of gentle comforter amid our sinfulness. No matter what we might've done, when we go to her, she will lead us to mercy.” https://www.thedivinemercy.org/articles/sin-affliction-turn-mary
“We can ask Mary for prayers just as we ask family and friends to pray for us. Mary loves Jesus. She wants everyone to know and love Him, too. Mary comes to our aid as our mother to help us and to point the way to her Son. “ https://blessedcatholicmom.com/
Likewise, I am drawn to the time in the Catholic wedding Mass when the couple honors Mary either by lighting candles or presenting her with flowers. Of course, entering the sacrament of marriage is the beginning of a lifetime of great humility and honoring another more than oneself. Honoring Mary and how she gave her life to Jesus as the humblest of all, during this time, can be an important moment at the start of a marriage, reminding both partners the sacrifices that a faithful marriage can ask.
“From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s will in things. From Mary we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone. From Mary we learn to love Christ, her Son and the Son of God…” https://www.spokenbride.com/blog/2019/10/7/honoring-mary-on-your-wedding-day
Finally, I am moved by the power of the Rosary as a way to connect to Mary and her experience as the mother of Jesus. The Rosary itself is believed to have come from Mary. Equally fascinating to me is the comprehensive nature of the prayers and the meditative nature of praying the Rosary and the beads.
“Along with the cross and the sacred holy water fonts, the small beads that makeup Rosary beads are one of the most familiar and recognized symbols of Catholicism. According to Catholic tradition, the rosary was instituted by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself. In the 13th century, she is said to have appeared to St. Dominic (founder of the Dominicans), given him a rosary, and asked that Christians pray the Hail Mary, Our Father and Glory Be prayers instead of the Psalms. The original rosary of St. Dominic had 15 decades.” https://www.theirishstore.com/blog/story-behind-catholic-rosary-beads/
Mary holds a special place in our hearts at camp as well. Our Mary statue sits among the trees in our grotto providing the ideal space to pray and feel her presense. This provides such beautful space to be among what is sacred.
I am equally captivated by the history and tradition and how Mary is integral to it all. She is so much more than the caregiver I saw her as when I was a kid. She’s an important connector to Jesus and a super cool mom for us to hope to emulate or at the very least to pray to her when we struggle.
Angi K Sullivan
CYO Camp Co-director
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