Friday, October 1, 2010

Mary - Motherly Mediatrix

One needs to take extreme care in the way one approaches Mary, the mother of Christ. Or, perhaps, extreme care is the exact opposite of what we need. After all, we are children of God, and what child ranks caution among its strongest traits? A child trusts and a child loves.

Let me explain.

To understand Mary's role in the Church and in our hearts, we need to divest ourselves of pride and become as little children (remember Christ's exhortation?). As self-sufficient, thinking, reasoning, strong, proud adults, we are often led astray and find ourselves confounded at the table of nourishment and gifts while babes and children readily and naturally accept and absorb all the juicy morsels of wisdom. Perhaps this is was the very reason for Christ's teaching on children and on becoming child-like:

Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4

We, indeed, are children of God; and Heaven represents our guardianship as well as our destiny - a place of perfection which we have not yet attained. On the other hand, Mary, is now in full possession of this spiritual perfection, of the crown of heaven, fully cognisant of God and His will, and of us His children, and thus must also be representative of this heavenly guardianship, assuming we remain in the cell of our true self-image as children in the genuine spiritual sense of the word. "The flesh counts for nothing. But, my words are spirit and life". Heaven is a spiritual realm. We are spiritual children. Heaven, and all its inhabitants, are our spiritual guardians and superiors. Period.

As children, therefore, we should possess a child's deference and non-judgement towards our superiors. It is not something we would need to put on, but something that should come naturally. Adulthood often causes us to reject or block our eternal good and natural impulses. Imagine a child: innocent, lacking in judgementalism towards his superiors, accepting of his place and thankful for his protection and guardianship. For what child thinks he is better than his guardians or superiors? It never enters the mind of a child. All is trust and all is love.

And even though a child may recognise the authoritative superiority of the male figure in the Christian household, this does not result in rejection or scorn of the mother. Quite the opposite. Often the child is naturally drawn to the soft, warm, nurturing, understanding nature of his mother. Certainly, in any good loving Christian household, the child is constantly aware of the partnership and love between mother and father such that any insolence towards the mother is counted as insolence towards the father.

But, if we are not careful, our false sense of self-sufficiency and pride - things that attached themselves to us as we grew older - may cause us to fall into grave error.

Examples of this error can be found among the ranks of fundamentalists. Shoving aside the warm embrace of the mother in their haste to get to Christ, they justify scorn and indifference towards the mother on the grounds that it was said of Christ "There is only one mediator between God and man". In effect, they make themselves equal (superior in some cases) to the mother of Christ, who naturally deserves our respect, love and trust as a member of Heaven's guardianship, remembering our true self-image as mere spiritual children.

It is as if they consider Mary an obstacle to obtaining God. If they only knew, and would not reject, the Church's actual teaching: that Mary is a motherly mediatrix who can help us on our path to God and who, in fact, never claims to be more than this. Hence, we say "Mary, pray for us", reserving for Christ "Christ have mercy on us". Herein lies the key that would unlock the confusion surrounding mediation.

But, even if they cannot bring themselves to accept this role of Mary, the very least appropriate behaviour, as spiritual children vastly inferior in spirit and in every other way to Mary, would be to grant her respect and honour. There should be at least a smile of respectful love towards Mary - a deportment of humility, honour and admiration. And isn't Mary completely satisfied to see us walk in the direction of Christ? Absolutely! Mary, our superior in every way, is content to reflect Christ's presence and glory as a mirror.

However, it isn't Mary we need to be afraid of. In this loving heavenly partnership, it is Christ who takes scorn towards his mother as scorn towards Himself. Mary is our guardian, Mary is our spiritual mother and the Mother of Christ. The Christian Church is a family. Let us not lose our innocent child-like view of the family. Let us not be confused at the table of heavenly gifts, one of the greatest of which is Mary. Let us divest ourselves of adult stupidity and allow our true natures as God's children, children of Heaven, to shine through.

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