Today’s video is another excellent production done by Spirit Juice Studios together with Fr. Pontifex. They gave the video the title of “Idol Worship” because many times that is exactly what Catholics are accused of without really knowing what we believe.
This video is an attempt to creatively give expression to what the Catholic Church teaches about the Communion of Saints and our relationship with Mary the Mother of Jesus our savior.
Given the fact that during the Advent and Christmas season Mary’s figure and role appear often, it is important that we take advantage to learn more about her and to help others to do the same.
Mary and Her Son
Have you ever wondered why Mary, our Blessed Mother, often presents herself – as Our Lady of Loreto, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Our Lady of Montserrat, Our Lady of Victory, and Mary, Seat of Wisdom, to name a few – with the Infant Jesus either in her arms or in her lap? Mary identifies herself, in her words and her actions, so intimately with Jesus Christ, her Son. This is rather evident when Jesus, as a boy, remained in the
Jerusalem Temple, and Mary and Joseph went back to see him in the Temple, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety” (Luke 2:48 NAB). The story of Mary is inseparable, and therefore, incomprehensible, when removed from the story of Jesus. In theological terms: Mariology in relation to and only because of the light of Christology.
Mary, Full of Grace
In Luke 1:28, the angel Gabriel, sent to Mary, greeted her with, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you” (NAB). In this address, Mary’s name is nowhere to be found, rather Mary is addressed as “favored one.” In Greek, the word is “kexarotimene,” which is packed with meaning and could literally be translated as “you, woman, who is filled with grace by God!” A few observations are to be made.
- First, Mary is addressed not by her name but according to how the angel Gabriel sees Mary in the light of God’s graciousness to her.
- Second, the way the angel Gabriel addressed Mary does not go in vain: Mary accepted the grace of God, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38 NAB).
- Third, in addressing Mary in such unique fashion, the angel Gabriel, a messenger of and from God, is also teaching us how to recognize and address Mary as God does recognize and address Mary.
Mary said, “Do whatever he tells you.”
The powerful and wonderful way Mary and Jesus work together is made evident in the Wedding at Cana (see John 1:12). Note that in this story, it is the presence of Mary at the gathering that is first mentioned, “On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there” (John 2:1 NAB). And then, the narration continues, “Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding” (John 2:2 NAB). At the wedding, the wine ran short – an incident that could have brought embarrassment to the host and the hostess. Yet precisely in this situation of need we learn, “the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine’” (John 2:3 NAB). Here, Mary is not merely making a statement of fact but is interceding to her Son for the couple. Her faith in her Son shows when she told the servers, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5 NAB). And Jesus attended to her mother’s request, “Fill the jars with water” (John 2:7 NAB). This is the first time Mary appears in the gospel of John.
Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, behold your son.”
The last time Mary appears in the gospel of John is at the crucifixion, at the foot of her Son’s cross. There, Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, behold your son” (John 19:26). Then Jesus said to the beloved disciple, John, “Behold your mother” (John 19:27). At the foot of the cross, divine and human generosity overflow. In Jesus giving his mother to his beloved disciple, and his beloved disciple to his mother a new community, a new family is formed: every Christian finds in Mary a mother, and Mary finds in every Christian a son or a daughter. This community, in as much as its members see themselves as followers of the Christ, is the communio sanctorum, the communion of saints. In this communion, Mary is cared for and she cares for her children. In this communion, her sons and daughters are cared for and care for their mother.
That Mary figures prominently in the gospel of John at her first and last appearances is something to be humbly acknowledged. In Mary, we find the one who shows us how to love her Son, Jesus Christ. In Mary, we find the one who assures us of her intercession to her Son, Jesus Christ. In Mary, we find the one who assures us of the maternal love she gave to her Son, Jesus Christ. In Mary, we can assure one another of our intercession and love for one another.
O Mary, our Mother, all generations will call you blessed! (based on Luke 1:48)
This Catholic-Link guest post has been contributed by Fr. Edison T.