Thursday, October 17, 2013

Help of Christians, Glory of Humanity

Who is Our Lady? She is someone who is with me as a friend, someone with whom I can talk, and who has me in her heart. Who else has lived with God as Mary has? From whom can we better learn to know the Incarnate One than from the woman who carried him for nine months in her womb? We should all talk to her about her Son.

Beloved Fathers, don’t forget to put into our hands the slender thread of Our Lady’s Psalter, now known as the rosary. It can hold our tragic world above the abyss that yawns below it, and may yet, with your help, lift it from its present dark depths.

How can anyone talk about throwing out devotions to Our Lady? Do we want to throw out the woman who was pregnant with God and who will lead us always to him? If one thinks of her mainly as Queen of Angels or Queen of the Universe, then it is not astonishing that one would not know her. For Christ our God was a carpenter and Mary a housewife; yet Christ, in heaven, still has calloused hands in his glorified body—and his mother who has been assumed into heaven also has a glorified body, with hands that show she was a working woman.

Here we are catching sight of a mystery encased in human flesh, born from a human mother and a human father, Joachim and Anne. Mary has been given to us by Christ as our mother, and now that she is in heaven she has the secret of everything. When you are worried about something or have a difficulty in spiritual matters, why not go to her?

Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Dear Father

Reflection – I have been remiss lately about blogging on the two principle women in my life, namely the Mother of God and Catherine de Hueck Doherty. In this month of the Rosary, I thought I might spend the next few days or so making up for my neglect, and sharing some of the gems Catherine gave us on the Blessed Virgin Mary.

So often in our Marian devotions we can lose sight of the woman, the person. Devotions are beautiful, and the Church in her wonderful creativity has come up with hundreds if not thousands of them over the millennia. But we always need to do these devotions in an awareness that on the other end of this prayer or practice is a real person, a human being just like us.

This is what Catherine always had with Our Lady. She loved to talk about the housewife with the hands of a working woman, as Christ has the hands of a carpenter, calloused and rough. There is nothing unreal or mythologized about Mary in Catherine’s writings of her. She is a woman—a unique woman, for sure—who has all the warmth and beauty of human womanhood, and who happens to have brought forth God from her womb, clothed Him in flesh, and is clothed by Him now in divine glory.

Mary is not a ‘goddess’ figure—this is the mistake made by our beloved Protestant brethren, and by some of our beloved New Age brothers and sisters. Mary is a creature, a human being, and it is her very glorious position now—Queen of heaven and earth—that shows us what in fact the full potential of our humanity is.

We are made to share in the divine nature, not by right or by nature, not because we are actually gods and goddesses, but by a gracious gift of our loving Father in heaven. Mary fully received that gift, in itself her perfect reception being a grace of God through Christ, which is the meaning of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Mary is the great icon for us of humanity redeemed, and the fullest picture we have in this life of the whole plan of God for his human creation, which is to exalt us to the heights of heaven and clothe us in royal dignity beyond our ability to imagine. We adorn Mary with titles and crowns and flowers of love and devotion not only because she deserves this from us, but because in her we see the truth of our own dignity and human greatness unmarred by shame and human failure.

Fundamentally, though, for Catherine Mary was simply a friend. Someone to go to with spiritual problems, someone she could talk to about life and Jesus and faith and this or that person or problem, knowing that this woman really loved her and seems to love everyone and has a great capacity to help us on the way to heaven. Mary is a practical woman, someone who gets things done, a helper: Mary, Help of Christians. And that’s what the Rosary is in the best popular devotional sense: a way of turning to this Lady and simply asking her help for our lives. It is so utterly simple, and yet within that simplicity contains all the treasures of God, of heaven, of glory and life.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.