Mary, model of faith and vocation
Early in my journey of faith, I pondered, like many Catholics and non-Catholics alike, why do we honor Mary? Why do we call her our Mother? Why does the Church hold Mary up as the model of our faith?
The answer is simply that we honor her because she is the mother of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She is called our mother because when Christ was dying on the cross, He gave her to His beloved disciple St. John. In John 19:26-27 we read, “When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple there whom He loved, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son.’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.”
Here we see that it was out of great love that Christ gives His own mother to the world. This new family that Christ established was the model that He envisioned as He handed over His mother to the beloved disciple. We seek to respect and honor the wishes of our Lord and Savior by honoring His mother as our own.
What does it mean that she is the model of our faith? Her constant obedience to God is our example of faith perfected.
When the Archangel Gabriel came to Mary, she listened, she pondered, and she gave a response. She accepted the call to her vocation and trusted God’s plan for her life.
Saying “yes” to God’s calling is ultimately acknowledging, accepting, and pursuing one’s vocation. With prayer, reflection, and guidance, we are all capable of responding to God in this way. Finally, everyone is given the choice to respond to this call. This is the model of how one is to discern and pray about his or her vocation.
As I was growing up, I remember my mom always taking us to daily Mass at our local parish. I would always give her trouble, coming up with excuses: I have too much homework or I was too tired from school. But no matter what, she always said we were going to Mass. On my journey of faith, I often pondered why we worship the way we do. What’s the point of going to Mass?
I remember one of the hymns we would sing was titled Xin Vâng, Vietnamese for “Yes.” The song is about Mary’s fiat to the Lord and about asking her example to teach us this “yes.” Mary was instrumental in my learning that “yes” and embracing the life of faith. That’s why I personally hold Mary as the example and model of our faith. Many saints looked to Mary for guidance and assistance, one of them being St. Pope John Paul II. He saw Mary as his own mother with his devotion to her. Totus Tuus, or “all yours,” was his motto. Besides, who better to guide you to Christ than His mother?
One of the best recommendations I received in my time of formation was that I should develop a relationship with our Blessed Mother. How one does that is by simply praying the Rosary. By praying and meditating on the mysteries of the holy Rosary, I began to reflect on the life of Christ. The Rosary meditations draw us closer to understanding what He did for us.
So, for any reader thinking about religious life or priesthood, I would ask you to reflect on Christ’s life, His mother, and the Holy Family. By their lives, you can reflect on obedience to God’s plan in your life. Mary with her fiat, St. Joseph with his silent response to the message he received in his dream to protect and become the adopted father of Jesus, and Christ with His sacrifice on the cross. This month of May, join the Church in honoring our Blessed Mother by reflecting on her life so that we may grow closer to her Son.