“Mary’s greatness consists in the fact that she wants to magnify God, not herself.” ~ Pope Benedict
There have been many apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary throughout the ages, some approved by the Church and some not approved. Many times, people have asked me what goes in the process of Church approbation of an alleged apparition. There are several things to consider; however, there seems to be one overriding question to ask: “In the apparition, did Mary, in one way, shape, or form, point to Jesus?”
In all of Mary’s appearances, her challenge has always been to listen to her Son. Mary never appeared on her own behalf but so that her Son could be known and glorified. Even in the few passages in the Gospels that speak about Mary, she was always directing attention to God and not herself.
When Mary visited Elizabeth and Elizabeth praised her, Mary redirected the praise to God. When the people came to her at a wedding in Cana, she pointed to her Son and said, “Do whatever He tells you.”
Mary is not interested in herself. She is not interested in getting her message out there. She is not interested in promulgating worship and adoration on her behalf. Mary has always, always, always pointed to her Son. That is one of the reasons that the Church holds her in such esteem. She is a wonderful example to all of us and teaches us what we need to do in our own lives.
Mary is a model of humility. She never claimed anything on her own but attributed it to the wonder and power of God. In our own lives, we are often far from humble. We like to grab for attention. We want people to praise us. We need to learn to acknowledge that all we have received, all that we are often praised for, is not of our own doing but a wonderful gift from God.
Mary is a model of trust. She had no idea what would come about when she said yes to the Angel Gabriel but she said yes nonetheless because she was the handmaid of the Lord and if God was calling, she was answering. When we feel called, we often weigh the call according to our own likes and wants. Our yes is usually a qualified one because it means that we are getting something out of it as well.
FAITH ACTION: Let us remember Mary in a special way this month and pray for humility and trust, that our yes to God may be immediate and unselfish.