In 2008, on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, my wife and I were told to consecrate ourselves to the Blessed Mother. Since I had no idea what consecration to Mary meant, I asked her for its meaning in front of her statue at St. James Church when we arrived in Medjugorje. The answer came back in a clear voice: “Consecrate to my son!” Since I was studying to be a deacon at that time, I assumed that the Blessed Mother wanted me to make myself holy as a deacon. I said “yes” without reservation.
Years later, I realized that consecration to our Blessed Mother is the union with Jesus through Mary. In the words of St. Teresa of Kolkata, it is “to love (Jesus) with the perfect love of your (Mary’s) Immaculate Heart.” We can only love him like Mary in her perfect motherhood through the grace of God. As our advocate to her son and mediatrix to her spouse, the Holy Spirit, she will intercede for us for that grace. When we can make loving Jesus the only thing that matters in our lives, then we will be in union with him because “whoever loves (Jesus) … (Father and Jesus) will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” (Jn 14:23) God be blessed for Mary, our Mother, who will always be my advocate and mediatrix of all graces.
–Deacon Francis King, St. Regis Catholic Church, Bloomfield Hills
Mary’s spiritual motherhood is a great gift to each of us. We know from the many apparitions of Mary that she cares deeply for us, her children. Recall that at the foot of the cross, Jesus said to St.John: Behold your Mother, and to Mary: Behold your son. (Jn 19:26-27) Jesus himself gave Mary to us as our Mother and entrusted each one of us to her as her children.
I have known and counted on her maternal care and intercession each time I am invited to share in the cross of suffering, as she did on Calvary with Jesus. This has been with family, friends or persons in any need who we meet every day in our mission of evangelization. I have experienced her intercession, especially as our Mother of Mercy. When we call upon her under this title, she will always help us to receive mercy and to be merciful to others. She teaches us what spiritual motherhood means so that we can also serve as spiritual mothers to others.
– Sister Esther Mary Nickel, Religious Sisters of Mercy
During a quiet morning Mass, I am captured by a stained-glass portrait of our Blessed Mother Mary. With outstretched hands, she gazes upon the St. Mary Parish family gathered in Royal Oak on this rainy morning.
Mary is a spiritual mother to all of us. I notice her virtues in others and I aspire to grow in these as well. Mary’s faith and heroic patience are felt through the rewarding but long days of being a mother of two young children. I see Mary’s hopefulness in my own mother, who is undergoing cancer treatment for the third time. And I witness Mother Mary’s ardent charity within the active and always growing St. Mary’s Moms+Tots group. The main part of our mission is to grow in faith through service to others. This is seen through our fellowship, contributions to Project Hope and our service to mothers in need. Mary’s spiritual motherhood is truly felt in our parish community when the Hail Mary prayer is said in our group of 20 mothers and their 35+ babies and toddlers. What a joyful sound!
Mary’s outstretched hands remind me of the virtues she shares and the power of her spiritual motherhood.
–Katie Stein, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Royal Oak
It means we have a saint that we can ask for intercession with the type of motherly love that sustained me through my childhood. I think often of how important my natural mother was in supporting me, giving me advice and being firm at times when it was needed. In my journey with Christ, I have felt that same supporting love, grace and patience helping me draw closer to the people of our Church, and ultimately God himself. I don’t recall a specific intercession, but when I meditate on Mary and how she must have led her life here on earth, I gain the courage to reject the many awful worldly characterizations of women around the globe.
–Adrian Bradley, St. Augustine and St. Monica Catholic Church, Detroit
Thinking of Mary as the first missionary disciple is a perfect example of pure faith which is a shining light to all of us that believe but are always tested. Mary, from the very beginning, willingly gave herself to the Lord, knowing that she would be ridiculed, suffer and be scorned, and yet she never hesitated or stumbled from that pivotal point in her life and our faith history.
Even now as I reflect on her influence in my own life, I look to her as my Holy Mother; to guide and love me as I stumble and grow in my faith and journey towards being a Christian disciple. As a mother first, and then disciple, I daily look to her for guidance and support (often forgiveness) and as a shining example of how a genuine disciple should live. She is a constant reminder that when God calls, I do not question but give myself to him completely with our Holy Mother’s love, guidance and support. I pray that I have a portion of Mary’s strength so that when God calls, I do not hesitate to respond.
–Jerry McElhone, St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, Allen Park
Being a mother myself, I relate to Mary’s motherly love, but, at the same time, I venerate her because of her loftiness. I admire her love for Jesus and for others, her silence, her humility, her motherhood and her obedience to God as described in the Scriptures. I see Mary as a role model the way a child looks up to her mother.
Mary’s spiritual motherhood means that I can confide in her the same way I have confided in my mother my whole life but more so. It feels easy to talk to Mary in my prayers, especially about my struggles, my pain and my worries, for she knows the struggles of life and human suffering. It also feels easy to ask her to pray for me when I can’t or when I feel my faith is weak. The most beautiful aspect of Mary’s love is that she always, no exception, takes me to Jesus. It is as if she wipes my tears, cleaning my blurry eyes so I can see him.
I have experienced her intercession in many aspects in my life, but particularly in my family; it is a devotion to Mary that brought my husband and I together, and that has kept us together for 18 years. Then, my children came, after asking Mary’s intercession in our visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Most recently, after my father passed away last year from COVID — he lived in Mexico and it was such an unexpected and quick death that affected me greatly — it was by Mary’s intercession that I have been able to get through it and see the hand of God.
–Gabriela Skamar, St. Anastasia Catholic Church, Tro