I hate to say it, but Mary was a bit of a stumbling block for me in my return to the Catholic Church.
Jesus had tackled me—you know how He does that—with that kind of crazy-powerful love and blazing intellectual righteousness, truth, and mercy thing that He does. Encountering His Sacred Heart in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, was just too much to resist.
But Mary, that was different. I had been “infected” with some poor catechesis, too many poorly written, maudlin Marian tunes, and far too many pale-faced, limp-looking Madonnas over the years to even want to get to know this virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph. What could she possibly have to teach me?
But Heaven is an infinitely patient place—and tenacious when it comes to truth.
With just a touch of study I became more interested in the mother of Jesus. With more reading, some delicate conversations with the learned, I started to embrace the sacramental reality of the Immaculate Conception, and to sit with wonder over this courageous young woman and her extraordinarily brave fiat.
It took me a long while and a lot of study and even more hours in adoration to come to understand her as Theotokos, the Mother of God of Tenderness—you know the icon, where the fleshy little cheek of Jesus is pressed against hers. He looks adoringly on her, but she looks lovingly on you, inviting you into the heart of her relationship with Jesus, her Son and Messiah.
Slowly I began to wonder what it meant—for me—when she said “Do as he tells you” (John 2:5). I began to watch in awe, especially each Good Friday, as Our Lady of Sorrows remained faithful and unmoving at the foot of the Cross. It was a further feat of grace to begin to imagine the kind of fierce and burning purity that would result in her Assumption.
It took some time and spiritual maturity to arrive at belief in her power—as bestowed through the King of Kings to this Queen of Heaven, Queen of Victory, Queen of Peace.
But yes, I am coming to know her a little bit now.
Learn more about Mary as Mediatrix of all graces here.
Liz Kelly is a jazz singer who fell in love with Jesus. She writes, teaches, offers spiritual direction and retreats with a special interest in helping women to flourish in their faith. She’s written six books, including the award-winning Jesus Approaches, the Jesus Approaches Study Supplement, and the Your Heart, His Home Prayer Companion. And she still sings jazz, but mainly in the tub and while washing dishes. Find out more about her here.