By Engr. Carlos V. Cornejo
In this month of May which is traditionally the month of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let’s talk about her. All the privileges that are given to her is due to her Divine Motherhood. Her being conceived without original sin (Immaculate Conception), her being assumed into heaven body and soul (Assumption), her freedom from sin in her lifetime, her being Queen of Heaven and Earth, etc. were gifted to her by God because she had the most unique privilege of being the Mother of the God-Man, Jesus Christ. That’s why we address her as the Mother of God every time we pray the Hail Mary because she was not just the mother of Christ as a Man, but also Christ as God.
We Catholics don’t worship Mary. The Mother of God is a creature like us. Worship or adoration (Latria in Latin) is for God alone and is not due to a creature. Only veneration (Dulia in Latin, meaning respect) is due to creatures, even the holiest. But Mary deserves the highest veneration (Hyperdulia) among all creatures, even more than the angels, again because of her unique privilege of being the Mother of God.
Veneration means two things according to St. Thomas Aquinas: first the respect due to all persons because they are made in God’s image and likeness and second, among human persons some are to be venerated more than others because of more holiness or goodness. The good, the wise, and the holy are more venerated than the evil, foolish, and unholy. Another reason the highest degree of veneration is due to Mary is that she is the holiest human being who ever lived, the greatest saint. It is fitting that God made her the greatest saint. St. Josemaria Escriva would say, that God had to choose a mother, if you and I were to choose a mother, surely, we would give her all the best characteristics a mother would have, and that’s precisely what God did with Mary.
It is fitting as well that we have a spiritual mother in the Blessed Virgin Mary with God as our Father. The entire humanity is a one big family and a family is not complete without a mother. Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is a required devotion for all Catholics as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.” (CCC 971) The word “intrinsic” means essential or natural. Thus, when we say someone is a Catholic, he or she would not be a complete Catholic if that person does not have a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. How can we not have a devotion to our spiritual mother? Our spiritual life would be incomplete.
If the Blessed Virgin Mary is the creature having the closest relationship to God, then it follows that she would also be the creature whom God could hardly turn down if she has a request. This was proven in the Gospels at the Wedding at Cana. (John 2:1-12) Mary simply said to her son Jesus, “They have no wine.” And Jesus replied “My hour has not yet come.” Meaning it was not yet time to reveal Himself as the Messiah to the world. But since it was Her mother who made the request, He could not turn it down. And so, the first miracle of Christ happened in a premature way. The lesson here is if you want something from God, it would be wise to course it through His mother and you would have better chance of getting what you want.