A Mary Moment Monday post


So often, she’s there up there. Above me in so many ways: she seems to have it all together, her clothes look nice, and doggone it, she’s smiling peacefully.

Why can’t I be like HER?

Her life is surely charmed, because the toddler she holds is behaving, and in church no less. She can’t possibly understand what I’m facing, how I’m struggling, why I’m crying.

Why can’t SHE be like ME?

I have spent years tackling the Virgin Mary off her pedestal at the front of church. I love the statues at our parish church and activity center, where we’re most often at Mass, but they aren’t real to me. They don’t make me think, “oh, yes, I can be like Mary.”

The path to my devotion to the Blessed Mother–and, as a result, to her Son–has been one of finding her beside me, at eye level. It’s been in picturing her doing mundane things like I do every week–laundry, dishes, diapers. It’s been in imagining her impacting others with her glances, her laughter, her phrase of encouragement.

Mary had a daily life. She never lived on a pedestal.

We put her on one to show our love and respect, but, for me at least, seeing Mary as a model for Christian living couldn’t begin until I could look her in the eye.

The other day, as I was finishing a book, I came across this great a-ha moment:

One of the most subtle ways to avoid imitating someone is to put them on a pedestal, above and apart from us. When you accept that Jesus was not merely divine but human as well, you can begin to see how you are not separate from Jesus.

Richard Rohr, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See

I’ve spoken and interacted with many, many Catholics who struggle with devotion to Mary. They don’t “get it,” and they want to know my secret.

Well, there it is. And in one sense, I always feel like I’m being disrespectful. In the other, though, I know of no other way to grow closer to Mary than to get to know her as a person.