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Mary, my mother

Updated: May 29, 2022

As someone who was born and raised Catholic, Mary has mostly been an important figure in my life. However, over time, and as a result of different life experiences, my relationship with her has changed and evolved. From a young age, my sisters and I were taught how to pray to Mary and one of my mum’s favourite things to do with us girls was pray the rosary. I have vivid memories of my mum’s friends bringing over beautiful Marian statues and images, and all of us gathering around reciting the rosary in Maltese (somewhat clumsily!)

As I grew, and my faith became something I needed to discover and claim for myself, Mary was somewhat forgotten. I knew that she was important as the mother of Jesus however I didn’t really have a connection with her. She became a distant figure in my life, one that I respected but didn’t really think too much about. My pursuit was first and foremost for Jesus.

One day, when I was sitting in the confessional as an adult (who was now happily married and the mother of 3 beautiful children), after spilling out all those moments which were not so happy and beautiful but very much a part of human life, the priest simply said, “do you ask for Mary’s intercession?” I thought about it for a while. And I realised that I had forgotten her and that she was distant to me. I was honest (after all, I was in confession!) and replied that I don’t really consider including her in my prayer life at all. He took a moment and said, “You know, you probably should, as you and her have much in common.”

Even though it was so very simple, and obvious, with those words, Mary shifted from this distant figure from my childhood, into this incredible woman who walked this earth, and lived the life of a daughter, wife and mother. And even though she was born without original sin, she was human. She would have had moments when she too struggled with the human-ness of life (I like to think that even she too would have rolled her eyes when baby Jesus woke up for the 500th time in the middle of the night!)

Reflecting upon this shift in my mind, I realised that Mary had been placed upon such a high pedestal that she seemed almost out of reach. Even though she was born without sin, “full of grace,” and is completely deserving of all the honour bestowed upon her, she was also human, and as a result of that, would have had her struggles as a woman, daughter, wife and mother. And contrary to my earlier thoughts, Mary was actually not a distraction from Jesus, but a pathway to Jesus. Her very existence in and of itself was to bring Christ to us, a mission that she gladly accepted despite the fear and apprehension she would have felt. She spent a large portion of her life protecting and raising a young man who was fully God and fully human. She suffered deep anguish and agony when she saw the one she loved tortured and killed, just as any mother who loses a child does. But then she continued her mission despite all that, journeying with and supporting the disciples who took the flame of Christianity to anyone who would listen after the resurrection. She never gave up.

In my mind and in my heart, Mary’s humanity doesn’t make her weak. But her ability to overcome her struggles and be completely faithful to God’s call upon her life makes her incredibly courageous and strong. Despite all fear, emotion, doubt and anxiety, she remains ever faithful to God. I only hope that I can be more like her in my life. When faced with anything life can bring, my prayer now is that I can accept like Mary, and be brave like Mary, and trust like Mary. Because she, more than anyone who ever has or ever will exist, will lead me closer to her son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

St. John Paul II

“From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s Will in all 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!”

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