|Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God "Of the Sign"|
Yesterday afternoon, as I wandered around my house hoping for inspiration, I walked the staircase and looked up. My jaw dropped. When I'm walking up the staircase, I look at the Hall of Mary (hallway with lots of Marian images). When I'm walking down the staircase, I see the crucifixes. My mother arranged it so that Mary and Jesus are constantly looking at each other in our house. I can't help but believe this mirrors their places in heaven.
Some people seem to fear that if you love Mary, your love for Jesus must lessen, or that you can love Mary too much. How can this be true when all of Mary's life was spent loving and looking to God? As a young woman, she died to self for the life of Christ. What do I mean by this? I don't know what she dreamed her life with Joseph would be like, but I can't imagine it was pregnancy before marriage; exile from family and friends; life-threatening danger; and sorrow at the death of her son.
Mary was fearful; we know this because Gabriel says "Do not be afraid." Did she tremble with anxiety at telling Joseph her news? Was she disappointed when he left her, his face a mask of confusion and hurt? Did she worry what might happen to her and her precious babe? Did rumormongers spread tales? Despite the many emotions that ran through her and the loss of dear plans she'd probably made, she said yes to the Lord, and she didn't hesitate: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. (Luke 1:38)."
Is it possible we can love Mary too much? I doubt it. We can never love her as much as God does. And He certainly loves her - He asked her to raise his Son. "Her hands steadied the first steps of him who steadied the earth to walk upon," St. John of Damascus wrote. "Her lips helped the Word of God to form his first human words."
The Holy Spirit loves her - He overshadowed her "so the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:34)"
Jesus, of course, loves her - she is his mother! He listened to her promptings at the wedding at Cana, and he asked his beloved disciple to take care of her after his death. My heart has always been moved at this event in Luke: Jesus sees a dead man being carried out of a city; the dead man's widowed mother, alone with no other children, cries as she follows the procession. "When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, "Do not weep." He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, "Young man, I tell you, arise!" The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother." (Luke 7: 11-15) Was Jesus moved with pity because he was face-to-face with the sorrow his mother would experience at his death? He loves her; he truly does.
If we look to Mary as our example, we will always arrive at the foot of the cross. She will not hold us back for herself but will patiently push us towards her son. Mary spent her life saying yes to God; she will encourage us to do the same. To every inquiry we present to her, she will respond, "Do whatever he tells you."
"Say to her: Mother of mine - yours, because you are hers on many counts - may your love bind me to your Son's cross; may I not lack the faith, nor the courage, nor the daring, to carry out the will of our Jesus." - St. Josemaria Escriva