Catholic Feasts · Motherhood · Prayer · Relationships

Mary – Who Do You Say She Is?



We, as Catholics, call Mary, “Mother,” because she was the pure and holy vessel that God chose to be His Mommy here on earth. Mary is called Immaculate because she was conceived without sin. As we begin to learn more about, and love our Catholic faith, we not only get to know Jesus; but also the Holy Family; Jesus, Mary and Joseph. As we contemplate in prayer the Scriptures, we see the many roles that Mary played during her life on this earth. It is then that we come to realize why Mary was God’s choice.


Mary was a daughter.

She taught me how to be a daughter too. One day the Lord was dealing with me about my relationship with His mother. It was 1979 and I was in the kitchen in my home in Vernal, Utah. God said, “You do not love my mother, because you do not love your mother.” The word from my Heavenly Father was spoken clearly, yet in in silence. It happened in an instant, and I knew that it was the voice of God. I also knew that God had read my heart. I immediately repented. Then I began the journey of healing a wounded heart. Only God could lead me. I needed a spiritual surgery that only He could perform. For my spiritual needs, I sought prayer and wise counsel. For my natural, I made phone calls, bought presents, encouraged, visited, supported, and listened to my mom. I learned to know her; I learned to love her. It was a slow but steady journey, with the Holy Spirit as my GPS. God was right. As my relationship with my mom grew, so did my relationship with His Mother. Now I call Mary my Mother too and my mom and I are now best friends. She is my daily laugh. Just ask Deacon Pat. My mom will never be a Mother Teresa type like I had secretly hoped, one who serves the Lord with gladness and prays me through life’s challenges. Rather my mom is more like a Marie on the sit-com Everyone Loves Raymond. Liking her for who she was, and not wanting her to be who she was not was key to my healing. There is no perfect earthly mother. I learned that when our earthly mother fails to measure up to our idea of a perfect mother Mother Mary fills in the gaps. She is blessed indeed. God knew how much her children would need a Mother’s love.


Mary was a Mother.

She taught me along with God the Father how to be a mother too. When it came to motherhood, I was clueless. Before marriage I did not even like children. I rarely even babysat. In fact, I thought I would never have any children!. I had a long way to grow into a mother full of virtue and sacrificial love. I guess you could say that as I was teaching my children character and virtue; Mary and Jesus were teaching me the same. I needed all the grace and wisdom I could get. Trust me on this one. Hanging in our home when I was a young mother was a picture of Mary hanging the laundry.  It was next to the picture from the Family Circle cartoon where the house is a total wreck and the caption reads, “I thank you God for my blessings, but I could use a little help around this place too!” By comparing the look on that mother in the picture’s face with the look on the Blessed Mother’s face I was daily reminded how very human I was. Mary and Jesus to this day, I am convinced, look down from heaven at Ellen Mongan, mother of seven living children, and shake their heads at each other saying, “This truly this is the greatest miracle that we have done in her life. We have given Ellen a Mother’s Heart. “I thankfully agree; Jesus changed me completely, with a little help from His Mother.


Mary knew how to stand at the foot of the cross.  

Mary taught me how to stand at the foot of the cross too. Many people were there to wave the palm branches and welcome Jesus, into Jerusalem. BUT….. OH…, so few were waiting and praying just a few days later with the same Jesus at the foot of His cross. Jesus was facing His toughest hours of His suffering, His crucifixion, and His death, but so few, so few had come to show their love and their support for Him. At His Passion, Jesus was quite alone except His friends; John, Mary Magdalene, and His mother Mary. Isn’t that the way it is today? When a  new baby is born, a couple weds, or one  moves  into a new home; all friends and family come to  rejoice and celebrate; to eat, drink, and make merry. Then disaster strikes; sometimes like Jesus at the cross we are almost all alone. Our friends are nowhere to be found. Remember this friend, Jesus is there, and Mary is too. Also, those who have been taught to stand at the foot of the cross will be there. Mother Theresa said, “When you are at the cross, you are so close to Jesus that you can kiss Him.” Do you want to be close to Jesus? Do not be afraid to stand at the foot of the cross. You will find that that is where the grace is. You will discover that even if you feel you are alone God is closer to you there at the cross than ever before. You will be in good company because Mary is always willing to stand at the cross with one who is suffering.


Mary always points to Jesus.  I somehow felt like half a Catholic, without her. But I was to learn through my search that that just was not true. The heart is a work of God; not a work of man.  We must seek, pray, and wait. We must be led by God’s Spirit daily, listen to His still small voice, then do whatever He tells us to do. We must repent when we sin and surrender our hearts to Him. God will, as we yield, do a work in our hearts. We must never rush a work of God. As I was thinking on this, I began to see how Mary was in my life all along. I just did not see her. Why, I pondered? I did not see Mary because she was never drawing attention to herself; she was always pointing me to Jesus. Mary has taught me so much. She is a gentle woman who teaches wisdom and teaches us how to love. We as Catholics Christians are in the family of God. We have both a Father and a mother. Mary, our mother, has a lot she can teach us and she will if we but let her. ARE YOU WILLING?

Jesus cries out from the cross, addressing His Best Friend John, “John, behold your Mother.” Next, Jesus, in unbearable pain addresses His Mother Mary, “Mary, Behold your Son.” He says those same words to us today.  What is your answer?


photo credit: M&J — 24th street in noe valley, scott richard via photopin (license)


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