We celebrated the Assumption of Mary on August 15 and her Queenship yesterday (August 22) and I’ve been “pondering these things in my heart” about Mary and why she is so important to me and all for the whole world.
One main thought I’ve had rolling around my head is this:
Mary has the full knowledge of ALL of the sufferings and ALL of the joys in the whole history of humanity.
She knows both the strife and the joyful triumph of life.
She has experienced pain personally but she is also in full knowledge of the meaning of her pain and of the whole world’s suffering.
This is what makes her the best Mother ever.
We can run to her with our skinned knees and our bruised and bleeding hearts and she will happily embrace us and comfort us. She will not wave us away or admonish us to “quit your whining and just trust in Jesus!”. She knows our pain is real.
I used to be confused about Mary – if she was “without sin” how could her heart also be “pierced” by suffering? I was confused because I couldn’t understand if someone was “sinless”, why would they suffer? And why, if she truly “knew” God in such an intimate and pure way, why would she feel suffering and anguish? I guess, in a way like my Jewish ancestors of old, I thought only sinners experienced suffering.
But Jesus suffered too.
What I’ve come to understand better is that suffering, on its own, is not a sin.
If you struggle, if life is hard, if you don’t always feel all happy and good inside – it does not make you a sinner.
It simply makes you human, living in the reality of this incomplete and broken world.
But this is why Mary is so important for us. She is a human, like any of the rest of us, conceived and born of human parents. The only difference is that God spared her the “stain” of sin. He didn’t just hide her from sin though.
Through Mary’s Immaculate Conception, God opened Himself to this one woman amongst all women and revealed Himself to her in His FULL “Be-ing” and Glory – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Like when Eve suddenly “knew” of the good and the evil too when she ate of the forbidden fruit, now Mary knew of ALL the GOOD in all its fullness. God not only gave her a hint to how the story ends, He showed her the whole ending in a way that makes the “current” time not only make absolute sense but shows how our suffering is an integral part of the ending.
Because of this, Mary is fully aware of the suffering of the world but she also knows that our suffering has a greater meaning and purpose. Like a gentle and wise Queen, she shows us, by her perfect example, how we can embrace our current reality and not only “get through it” but how we can unite our lives completely with Christ so that we become part of the Great Story.
In Jeff Young’s (aka The Catholic Foodie) August 22 reflection in The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion (that I’m so excited to be a part of!), he encourages us to come to Mary with our pains and struggles and allow her to comfort us and then encourage us to get back on our feet and continue on this road because what we will find at the end will make it all worth it!
Mama Mary, you know what it is like to suffer with God. Please help me to accept my life as it is and to trust that Jesus is right here with me. – Jeff Young
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