It can be hard to know how to relate to Mary in your faith life. You have God the Father, you have Jesus, you have the Holy Spirit — but how is Mary supposed to fit in? When it comes to praying to Mary, it helps to know two things. First, the right prayers. That’s where this month’s CatholicMonth.ly box comes in. Second, it helps to know the right people. Fortunately there are three people in the Bible who can help you use your new CatholicMonth.ly gifts to grow in devotion to Mary. Read on to learn who they are and why you can pray especially to them!
When Joseph learns that Mary is with child, he decides to separate himself from her (Matthew 1:18-24). There are different theories as to why Joseph decided to do this. One of them is that Joseph recognized that whatever was happening with Mary was something from God. That made him feel afraid. Just about everyone in the Bible reacts this way when they recognize they’re in the presence of the divine. Joseph doesn’t understand it, and he probably felt unworthy to be a part of whatever God was doing in Mary’s life. This made him feel separate from her.
We too, may feel separate from Mary. Perhaps we feel like we can’t relate to her because of her special graces. Joseph is the model for us when we feel that way. Joseph is told by the angel of the Lord, “Do not fear to take Mary your wife.” In other words, Do not let what you don’t understand about Mary prevent you from staying close to her.
Like Joseph, you may have a time understanding Mary or relating to her. But like Joseph, you can honor Mary by staying close to her all your life, and looking to her to help you understand the ways of God. Pray to St. Joseph to help you stay close to Mary.
Mary visits Elizabeth shortly after the Annunciation with the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:39-43). When Elizabeth and Mary greet each other, Elizabeth calls Mary “the mother of my Lord.”
Mary has come to serve Elizabeth during her time of pregnancy – she stays with Elizabeth and her family for around three months. Mary is a woman of service! She has just conceived Jesus Christ in her womb, and the first thing she does is go out to serve someone she loves. And Elizabeth lets herself be helped by Mary. Elizabeth gives special honor to Mary as the Mother of God by allowing Mary to be of service to her. And in doing so, she welcomes Christ into her home through Mary.
We can pray to St. Elizabeth for help in opening ourselves up to the power of Mary’s intercession. As the Mother of God, Mary not only brings Christ to us but is eager to help us with her prayers.
In the last moments of Jesus’ life, as he hangs dying on the cross, he sees one of his disciples standing with Mary near the cross (John 19:25-27). Tradition says that this disciple is St. John, the author of the fourth Gospel. Jesus says to St. John, “Behold, your mother!”
In his Gospel, St. John refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Jesus gives Mary to John because John has a special love for Jesus, and Jesus loves him. Loving Jesus, and receiving Mary from Jesus to love her too, go hand in hand.
St. John is the first in a long line of disciples up to this day who accept Mary as their spiritual mother. Look at the holiest men and women in the history of Christianity, and you almost always find they had a love for Mary. This is because being holy is about loving, and being loved. We are called to love everything Jesus loves, including his mother ‒ and accepting every gift from Jesus, including his mother! Praying to St. John will help you grow in love for Mary as a spiritual mother.
May these reflections help you grow in love and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Have a great May, and see you next month!