Sunday, December 14, 2014

Will you still be my friend when you discover I am a Catholic?

It seems people are ready to distance themselves from Catholics.  We seem no more popular than some politicians.  Why is this case?  Do they know the reason for their distrust?  Alternatively, is it the result of just old history? I have even heard Catholicism is not a Christian faith.

I will admit there have been times in history when some Catholics, be they individuals or a member of the faith’s hierarchy, lost Jesus’ message of love and peace.  However, “do not throw the baby out with the bath water,” as the saying goes.

I would like to take a moment to cover one of the major issues I have heard over the years.  Our Blessed Mother is often misunderstood. Many think that Catholics “worship” Mary.  This is far from the truth, and I would like to tell you of Mary’s story.  There is a reason why we ask for her intercession.

Mary was a child by today’s standards when the events that changed the world came to her. Imagine this happening to your young daughter, or sister.  As most accounts of Mary’s age put her in her mid-teens.

Mary had been living a devout life of obedience and prayer. She must have been her parent’s joy.  Do you wonder about her parents’ reaction to the glorious news?  How would you react to the news that your young child, whom you knew was a virgin, had become pregnant?  I am sure the explanations of receiving a visit by an angel telling her of God’s will must have been earth shattering.

Think of Mary for a few moments.  This woman, whom I would describe as the embodiment of amazing grace, was going to take on the role of the being the mother of our Savior.  The angel also tells her of Elizabeth’s pregnancy.  Elizabeth being beyond childbearing age accepted her condition with great love.  Mary, not concerned for herself, travels from Nazareth to Judea to help Elizabeth, always concerned for others rather than herself.  She returns three months later and her condition is evident.

This was an extremely dangerous time for Mary.  By laws of her time, she could be stoned for being pregnant outside of marriage.  Had Joseph not chosen the path he did, it would have happened.  However, he decided to marry her, as they were betrothed, and then quietly divorce her.  That was not to be the case, Joseph had a dream in which the angel tells him to take Mary as his wife.

If we jump ahead about 30 years, we find Mary and Jesus along with Peter and the apostles attending a wedding.  Mary discovers that the wine has run out.  She does not ask Jesus to perform a miracle.  She simply tells Him about the situation and then tells the servants to do whatever He tells them to do.  Many view this as Christ’s first miracle but I see it defining Mary’s role as intercessor for us to her Son. 

Do you see why Catholics pray to Mary?  As a Catholic, I know why I love the Queen of Heaven and Earth. We beseech her to ask her Son for His aid.  This amazing woman, who would see her son tortured beyond comprehension for our indiscretions, intercedes for us with her Son.  She loves us and does all she can to aid humanity. 

I trust this explanation of Mary’s role in our faith will help others understand her true role as our Heavenly Queen, Mother and our greatest intercessor.

A beautiful invocation in a Catholic prayer sums up these thoughts: “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.”

Have a Blessed and Safe Christmas Season,