During the month of May, Catholics around the world honor our Blessed Mother through May crownings, praying the rosary, special observances and other Marian devotions. To the faithful, she is a role model of love, devotion, and faith. Through her “yes,” she sealed our salvation.
Although very little is written in Scripture about the Blessed Virgin, what is recorded teaches us a lot about her journey of faith. We are all familiar with Mary’s humble beginnings, her deep faith, grace, and docile nature, and her nurturing presence during the life of our Lord, Jesus. But what are we to learn from our Spiritual mother?
In his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), Pope Francis called Mary, the mother of evangelization.
“With the Holy Spirit, Mary is always present in the midst of the people,” he wrote. “She joined the disciples in praying for the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14) and thus made possible the missionary outburst which took place at Pentecost. She is the mother of the Church which evangelizes, and without her, we could never truly understand the spirit of the new evangelization.”
“As a true mother, she walks at our side, she shares our struggles and she constantly surrounds us with God’s love,” Pope Francis also wrote.
When it comes to discipleship, the Blessed Mother is the example Catholics are called to follow.
“I see Mary as the perfect role model of discipleship,” Bishop John Noonan said. “Marian devotions, the rosary, the different canticles, give us a sense of the surrendering to God in our lives, having that relationship with God which builds up who we are in relationship with Christ.”
“Even the titles the Church gives her – Mother of God, Mother of the Church, Queen of Heaven, Intercessor on our behalf—shows how she leads us to her son, Jesus Christ.”
Bruce Croteau, director of the Diocese of Orlando Office of Liturgy, said we also see the human side of Mary in Scripture, especially in the Gospel of Luke 2:41-52, when the boy Jesus got lost at the Temple.
“After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety” (Luke 2:46,48).
“We see a little bit of frustration on Mary’s part as a mother,” Croteau said. “That helps us to understand that Mary, too, had the same pressures upon her that modern day mothers have with regards to their children.”
Croteau also noted that Mary was contemplative, pondered things in her heart. Still, she did not question. She said God’s will be done.
“When you think about her steadfast witness, that is one of the first prerequisites of evangelization,” Croteau said. “She was solid in her faith, and knew God would do what God had said. She was a trusting servant.”
“Scriptures have taught us a lot about Mary and her relationship with Christ, being the mother of Christ, being a disciple, a true follower,” Bishop Noonan said. “We are all called to follow her path.”