Why is Mary your Mother?
Written by Bernice Zieba on 12/05/2020
May, month of Mary
As Catholics, we often hear, that Mary is our mother. How can this be? Is it not sufficient to have God? Don’t we already have an earthly mother? Do we need yet another mother in heaven?
When I became a Catholic over 16 years ago, this was something I kind of, but not fully understood. I was familiar with the passage in the Bible where Jesus, while hanging on the cross, says to John: “Here is your mother” (John 19:27). And so, John took her into his home and looked after her (which was vital in biblical days, because it was impossible for a woman to be self-sufficient).
But why should this make her my mother too? Wasn’t this just meant for the individual situation of John and Mary? Of course, we can say, since we have the same heavenly father, John is like our brother, and so Mary is like our mother. But I still had moments of slight doubt, moments when this not fully answered question arose: “What makes Mary my (and your) mother?”
I’ll tell you what struck me most and led me to believe, and to fully accept, that Mary is truly our mother, and to ignore that, would be to ignore an important part of Jesus’ becoming flesh.
I’m not sure, when I first came across this thought. Was it the example of St John Paul II whose life was accompanied by the Marian dedication, Totus Tuus? Or did I pick it up somewhere else? Anyway, the Holy Spirit showed me something in our faith that is so basic, so foundational, we simply tend to overlook it.
Go back to the very beginning of Jesus’ life. Mary conceived him through the Holy Spirit. She became his earthly mother, as soon as he began developing in her womb. When Jesus was born, he was a small child. Let’s repeat this. Jesus was a small child. Remember, Jesus is not any person, but God himself! God is almighty, in God is all power. He is the Creator of heaven and earth, and yet, he lowered himself to the level of a small child.
A baby is fully dependent on its mother. So was Jesus. A baby cannot do anything on its own, can’t survive without its mother. So with Jesus. A baby, without consciously knowing, fully entrusts itself to its mother’s care. So did Jesus. A baby needs to be carried, needs to be fed, needs to be comforted, needs to be looked after around the clock. Same for Jesus.
If Jesus was so dependent on Mary, if Jesus entrusted himself entirely to her – and remember, because he is God, he was fully aware of what he was doing – why shouldn’t I do the same? Am I any higher than God? No! So, if Jesus, our Lord, lowered himself to Mary’s care, there is no reason, why I or you shouldn’t.
Totus Tuus means all yours. This wasn’t St John Paul’s II invention. He was just imitating Christ.