MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS
After a certain eclipse of Marian devotion, brought on in part by abuses and notable distortions, Christians are returning to be interested in Mary in order to discover her true place within the Christian experience.
This is not a matter of approaching Mary in order to hear «apocalyptic messages» that warn of terrible punishment to a world buried in impiety and unbelief, while she offers her motherly protection to whoever does penance or prays certain prayers.
It’s not a matter either of promoting a piety that secretly nourishes an infantile relationship of dependence and fusion with an idealized mother. It’s been a while since psychology put us on guard in the face of a devotion that falsely exalts Mary as «Virgin and Mother», favoring underneath all a rejection of the ’real woman’ as the eternal tempter of men.
The first criterion to verify the «Christian truth» of every devotion to Mary is to see if it falls back on the believer himself or if it opens him to God’s project; if it makes her regress to an infantile relationship with an «imaginary mother» or if it pushes her forward to live her faith in an adult and responsible way in faithfully following Jesus Christ.
The best efforts of today’s Mariology try to lead Christians to a vision of Mary as Mother of Jesus Christ, the first disciple of her Son, and model of authentic Christians living.
More concretely, Mary today is for us the model of faith, welcoming God from the posture of an obedient faith; the example of an attitude of service of her Son and of concern in solidarity for all who suffer; a woman who is committed to «God’s reign» proclaimed and promoted by her Son.
In these times of weariness and unbelieving pessimism, Mary with her radical obedience to God and her trusting hope can lead us toward a Christian life that is deeper and more faithful to God.
Devotion to Mary isn’t, then, a secondary element for nourishing the religion of ‘simple’ people, inclined to practices and rituals that are basically «folklorical». To come close to Mary is more so to place ourselves in the best position to discover Christ and welcome him. The Gospel writer Matthew reminds us about Mary as the mother of ‘Emmanuel’, that is, the woman who can help us come close to Jesus, «God with us».
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf