Friday, July 28, 2017

Meet Your Mother

Included in our gift bags at a recent women's conference at our diocesan retreat center was a copy of Mark Miravalle's book Meet Your Mother: A Brief Introduction to Mary. Because in the last two and a half years I have read and watched quite a bit about Mary, a lot of this book was a review; however, I still found great value in reading the book. One of the first resources I read that made me realize I had been missing out by not intentionally focusing on the role of Mary in my life was Fr. Gaitley's 33 Days to Morning GloryFr. Gaitley wrote the foreword to Miravalle's book and captured my context well, "I'm so grateful that Dr. Miravalle wrote this book -- there's such a need for it. During my travels, I meet so many people who are just awakening to the idea of Mary as their mother. Whether through the Rosary, Marian consecration or some other way, they seem to be drawing closer to her now as never before. And what a hunger they have! They feel that there's so much they don't know about her, but they want to learn -- and learn quickly" (p. 9). He also recommends the book for those who "hardly know anything" about Mary later in the foreword (p. 10), and I agree that it is a good starting point.

After the foreword, the book is organized into two main sections: the Church's teachings on Mary and her relevance in our lives today (14 chapters total) and a conclusion. The two appendices focus on how to pray the Rosary and an introduction to Marian consecration, which is actually an excerpt from Fr. Gaitley's book. Each of the chapters are quick and concise. As the title alludes, it is fairly brief; yet, it includes a lot to ponder.

One example of something that I had either not heard in quite this way, heard but was not yet ready to fully grasp, or heard but was not in a place where it was the aspect that would stand out most was the interaction between Jesus and Mary at the Wedding at Cana. I had heard descriptions of why Jesus was not disrespecting Mary with his, "Woman, what is this to me and to you? My hour has not yet come" (John 2:4); however I did not get the deeper significance of the question. Miravalle included a quote from Archbishop Futon Sheen that I loved, including that Jesus was letting Mary know with his question, "If I perform this miracle, we are on the fast track from Cana to Calvary, for everyone will then publicly know who I am, and that will eventually lead to my crucifixion. Are you, Woman, ready for this?" (p. 62).

In general, this book helped me to better appreciate and more fully understand Mary's fiat and her perfect alignment to God's will. I previously knew the concept of both, but reading this book helped to add a richness to just how amazing that was. For example, he walked through what it would be like to see someone you loved crucified, especially when knowing they were innocent. He said, "Now, during this entire horrible event, you have done nothing other than watch your loved one experience this terrible evil. Why haven't you done anything but watch? Why haven't you tried to stop it? Why didn't you defend your loved one to the people in the crowds saying such terrible things, which you knew were absolutely untrue. Because God told you not to" (p. 54).

I appreciate that this book helped me to reflect on familiar Marian aspects from new angles, which has added a depth to my meditations as I pray the Rosary and consider my journey to aligning my life to God's will.

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