“No matter how sinful one may have been, if he has devotion to Mary, it is impossible that he be lost.” Saint Hilary of Poitiers –
Last Sunday was Mother’s Day, May 13 was the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, and coming up next week is the feast of Mary, help of Christians. According to tradition, May is the month specifically dedicated to Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth. Also, traditionally Catholic theology has held that among God’s creations, the three most perfect are the human nature of Christ, the beatific vision, and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Let this sink in for a little, what this means. God’s creation is really wonderful. We have a magnificent universe of visible objects. There are beautiful photos of outer space:
Wonderful mathematical laws governing the universe, amazing and powerful phenomena and parts to our universe like black holes, the stars, or the ocean. There are simple things like flowers which are symmetrical, pretty, and smell nice. There are fascinating things like the mysteries of science for example the human brain or the mysteries of quantum mechanics. The universe contains people, their interactions and complexities, and the good which we do. None of the greatest things in this universe however are really comparable to the angelic realm which is purely spiritual and said to be far beyond the grandeur of our wonderful universe. However even that does not compare to the three things which we have mentioned, namely, the human nature of Christ, the beatific vision, and Mary.
The beatific vision is the manner in which we can see God face to face and enjoy Him forever in heaven. It is a happiness beyond our nature which is given to us as a gift. There is no happiness in this world which is comparable to the beatific vision, it is the goal for all Christians to reach this home in God where we share in His own happiness. It is very clear why this is remarkable. The human nature of Christ is also most perfect among God’s creatures because more than any other created thing, it shares in the Divine in the sense that it is closer than any other part of creation to God than anything could be. This is because the human nature of Jesus is united to the Divine nature in one person, namely the second person of the Trinity, God the Son.
Then, there is the third thing which counts as the greatest of God’s creatures, and that is Mary. This is interesting however, because compared to the vision of God and the humanity of God the Son, Mary is another human being. Yet we know she is not, and this is why she is among God’s greatest creations. Mary is the mother of Jesus and therefore, the mother of God. In Mary, God took on a human nature. It is through her that the human nature of Christ was created. For God truly became man by Mary. And it is because of this that all men can be saved and attain the beatific vision of God.
The greatness of Mary then is contained in this: she is a mother. The beatific vision of God is that in which man sees God and enjoys His happiness. The human nature of Christ is united to the Godhead via the hypostatic union. Mary is a mom.
Now of course, Mary is not the mom of anyone, but that doesn’t detract from her role. It is obviously because she is the mother of Jesus that she was fashioned so perfectly, but that only points to the dignity of being a mom. For although God chose to enter into the world in a lowly state, not as a king but as an ordinary person born in a stable, He did chose to enter through a perfect woman. Although His entrance into this world, life and above all else His death were not characteristic of His dignity as God, His mother was. In all that God has made, He chose to make His mother the most perfect. This should be a sign to us all, on the great dignity of mothers. It is because Mary is a mom that she is among the greatest of God’s creatures, and it is God’s will which causes it to be this way.
Today’s world unfortunately doesn’t always see the greatness of motherhood and what it means to be a mom. Some deride the idea of a stay-at home mom. Others think having a large family is bad in some way. Of course, many think that there is no difference between two men raising a kid and a mother and father. It is legal in this country for a mother to kill her child in utero. We often hear about how women want to focus on their career first and foremost before worrying about the family.
Yet in all of this, the modern culture is missing something that is very hard to describe using words. From an abstract perspective, they just have it all wrong. Mothers of course provide something that fathers can’t. They add something to a child’s life that no one can ever replace. A mother’s love for a child is probably the greatest love there can be in this world. People just don’t understand all of this. Just taking the stay at home mother example, it’s quite unfortunate how people see that as “less” or “oppressive” or “too easy” for women. As if a stay at home mom isn’t important. As if it were a degrading role or as if anyone could do it! People characterize it as a role nothing more than being a cook and maid for the family. Anyone who thinks this way is really just ignorant. A stay at home mom does much more and provides much more. She never stops working. It is more than simply household chores. It is providing that constant presence, at home or at school, that constant presence which I imagine isn’t always easy, which makes all the difference in a kid’s life. Anyone who looks down on stay at home moms I am sure could never be one, at least not a good one. No one is saying that women can’t be or shouldn’t be in the workforce or providing other things for society. Anyone who throws out that accusation simply is trapped in their own illusion. It is not that women can’t provide anything outside of the home, in fact they do and should continue to do so. Rather, it is what they provide as moms within the home is simply far greater than anything anyone does in the outside world. A mother has been called the “heart of the home” by the Church because she “has the chief place in love.” (see Pope Pius XI Casti Connubi)
Still, what I can say in the abstract is cold and far less significant than what I can say from a personal point of view. Often on the blog we don’t get too personal. I won’t go into long details, but I have to say on a personal note, one of God’s greatest blessings He has given me is my mom. She is a remarkable woman and when the culture looks down on moms, it really just shows, they don’t and can’t understand. It hits home for me literally because I know what it is like to have a mom who values being a mom more than anything. Despite yelling at us to “go to bed” at 8 pm (slight exaggeration…) or whatever it may be, she cares about us more than anything else and gives all she can for us. From testing our coffee in the morning, to always being ready to “beat anyone up” if they are “mean to us” or to sending smile faces over text, she always shows us she loves us.
I could go on, but that is not the point of the blog post. The point is that the world often undervalues mothers, but this is because evil people have deluded many into thinking they are not worth it, and thus have destroyed motherhood as a vocation. Maybe it takes personal experience to really know what is missing when we get rid of moms. I am not sure, but I know that the world is a warmer place and a better place with moms the way God intended. God shows us how He sees the value of a Mom through the incarnation. God chose to come to us through a woman and to make that woman “man’s only reason to boast.” Among God’s greatest creations there is Mary. She was no worldly-Queen. She was not a philosopher or a scientist. She was not an athlete or a warrior. There are very few quotes we even have of her. She did not write anything, we don’t even know if she could have. She lived before technology, could not drive a car, and probably did not have a ton of things. Yet she is among God’s greatest creations, made most perfect and holy, because she was chosen as a mom.
God’s plan for creation is to show forth His goodness and share in His happiness, both of which are intimately related. In God’s masterpiece which is creation, He chose to have a few very important pieces stand out. These things are what gives Him glory more than anything else. They are the vision of His nature, the human nature which He assumed, and His own mom. Among the greatest things in all of creation, there is the blessed vision of God, the human nature of God the Son, and a Mom. Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, the mother of God.
What better topic could we discuss on this 100th post? In this post we especially honor mothers everywhere, our own moms, and the mother of God, Our own spiritual mother, the Blessed Mother Mary.
Let us pray to Mary our Mother in heaven for our world, our mothers, and our souls. And let’s do this with confidence, reflecting on what St. Alphonsus said:
“Think of what the Saints have done for their neighbor because they loved God. But what Saint’s love for God can match Mary’s? She loved Him more in the first moment of her existence than all the Saints and angels ever loved Him or will love Him. Our Lady herself revealed to Sister Mary Crucified that the fire of her love was most extreme. If Heaven and earth were placed in it, they would be instantly consumed. And the ardors of the seraphim, compared with it, are like cool breezes. Just as there is not one among all the Blessed who loves God as Mary does, so there is no one, after God, who loves us as much as this most loving Mother does. Furthermore, if we heaped together all the love that mothers have for their children, all the love of husbands and wives, all the love of all the angels and Saints for their clients, it could never equal Mary’s love for even a single soul.” –Saint Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary