Voices Online Edition
VOICES - Vol. XX No. 3
Christmas 2005 - Epiphany 2006
Voices Young Writers Award Winner
Mary, Our Mother
by Miceala Shocklee
Miceala Shocklee is a freshman at Visitation Academy, a private, Catholic, all-girls school, which she has attended since kindergarten. Miceala lives in Chesterfield, Missouri with her parents, younger sister, and dog.
Miceala wrote this essay so that she could share with those who read it what she both has known all her life and what she has recently learned by reading more about the Blessed Virgin Mary by writing about Mary as Mother, in hopes that those who read it will also find the motherly love of Mary in their lives and find their own devotion to Mary, and through her, to her son, Jesus.
[Details about the Young Writers Award.]
A young Hebrew girl of fourteen looks up at the glowing figure of light. The angel smiles down at her patiently, awaiting her answer. The girl takes a breath, then whispers her answer. The angel’s smile glows more brilliantly as he watches the young girl’s lips speak the answer, “yes”.
Mary answered the angel of the Lord “yes”, becoming the Mother of God. Also with her “yes”, Mary became the Mother of the Church. And our Savior, at His crucifixion, said to the Apostle John, “Behold your son”, giving His own Blessed Mother. Mary is mother not only to the Son, but to all of God’s children. Mary is Mother of God, Mother of the Church, and even is our own Blessed Mother.
Mary, Mother of God
On Christmas day we celebrate the birth of Jesus, God’s only Son. Christmas is the day when God came as a baby boy, after being formed in the womb of His mother, into the world. God chose Mary to be His mother, and through Him, the mother of all His children.
When Mary said “yes” to the angel of the Lord, she said “yes” to being chosen to be the Mother of God. It is because Mary is the Mother of God that we as Catholics honor and venerate her. God as the Son was lovingly carried, taught, and protected by Mary, His Mother, just as any child would be by a mother. Through Jesus, Mary still gives all of her spiritual children the same hand to clasp, teachings and words to hear, refuge to seek protection in, motherly love.
Mary’s heart was always immaculate -- or free from original sin and all sin -- from the moment of her conception. Even before she was born, Mary’s heart and soul were as perfectly loving and pure as that of her son, Jesus. Mary’s heart is always joined in love to Jesus’ Sacred Heart, and with her “yes” to God, Mary said “yes” to share in Jesus’ life, sufferings, death, and resurrection.
Throughout the life of Jesus, Mary would listen to His words and keep them in her heart. Mary suffered with Jesus as He made the way of the Cross to Calvary, her own heart wounded by the thorns of sin that wound Jesus’ heart. Because of Mary’s loving, Immaculate Heart that during her whole life was joined in perfect union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, she was assumed body and soul into heaven after her death.
Mary is often called Theotokos, meaning “Mother of God”, or literally, “God bearer”. Just as she was prepared to be the Mother of God even before her birth, she brought or “bore” her child, the Son of God, to those around her even before Jesus was born on Christmas Day. Mary brought Jesus to Elizabeth, who greeted her cousin, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:42-43) Mary gave the joy of Christ to the world, from when the baby John “leaped for joy within Elizabeth’s womb” (Lk 1:44), to when Mary would give her child -- her joy -- to the world on a cross.
Mary, Mother of the Church
At the foot of the cross, Mary was made the mother of the Church when Jesus said to the Apostle John, “Behold, here is your Mother” (Jn 19:26), and to Mary, “Behold, here is your son” (Jn 19:27). Jesus gave all of the Church His own mother, Mary, to be our mother.
At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down upon the apostles and disciples and gave them the courage and hope to go out and preach the news of the Gospel, the message of Christ. Pentecost is called the birthday of the Church. Mary was present at Pentecost, again telling us that she is the Mother of the Church by showing us that she was there, receiving the Spirit into her heart when the Church was born. In fact, some paintings -- such as one by Gaetano Gandolfi -- feature Mary in the center of the apostles, welcoming the Holy Spirit into her heart while the others stand in fear -- a fear that is soon replaced with the fortitude to go and proclaim the message of Christ, the message of the Church, the Word of God.
Mary continued to stay with the apostles, nurturing the early Church with her motherly love. Even today, Mary continues to care for the Church with her guidance and love. Mary has spoken to the Church through saints such as Saint Bernadette, Saint Catherine Laboure, the Fatima children, and many others, providing guidance, advice, instruction, and hope for her children in the Church.
The Church is also called the Body of Christ. We are all members of the Body of Christ, and through Christ, are given Mary as our mother. Mary loves all of her children in the Church -- the Body of Christ -- watching over them, smiling upon them, and loving them just as she does her own beloved Son, Jesus.
Mary, Our Mother
When Mary said “yes” to the angel of the Lord, she became the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God. Through Jesus, Mary also became our mother. Everyone is a child of God, and Jesus -- who is true man and true God -- gave us His own mother.
Mary cares for all of us just as lovingly as she cared for the child Jesus. As a mother gives her child food, clothing, shelter, encouragement, protection and love, Mary gives us all these things.
Through Jesus, she gives us spiritual food and drink in the bread and wine, His own Body and Blood that Jesus gave us at the Last Supper.
When she appeared to Saint Simon Stock, Mary presented him with the Brown Scapular. At that time, a scapular was a form of clothing worn by monks as a symbol of their complete devotion to God. Through the Brown Scapular, Mary has given her children clothing and the hope of the promises she attached to it, promising the salvation of her Son, especially from purgatory.
Mary, the Mother of the Church, is also our shelter. In Mary we can also seek refuge. To Mary we can look for guidance home to heaven. Mary also encourages us all our lives. Her messages of hope to the saints are for us as well. Also to the saints Mary has given ways of seeking her protection, giving her children on earth medals and prayers, the rosary and the Word of God, Jesus.
Most of all, Mary gives us her love. Mary prays for her children with the same love that she does the will of her Son, and the will of the Father. Mary listens to our prayers, and hears our needs and sorrows and joys, and gives us her love and help throughout all our lives in whatever way the Father feels we most need it, asking only for our love as her children in return.
Mary gave us her own son, Jesus. Mary gave us the Father’s own beloved Son, from when He was first joyously born into the world to when He would later offer Himself -- His own Body and Blood -- on the cross. Mary became the loving mother of the world’s Savior, of God, and of all of God’s children, just by saying “yes” to the messenger of the Lord.
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