While the work of following Jesus and being his disciple can be a beautifully simple life, sometimes sharing the Gospel is challenging, uncomfortable or even disheartening. Sometimes it might upset you. You might even need to have a good cry or a hug from your mom when things aren’t going so well! Fortunately, Jesus has given us his. Mary as our mother guides us, protects us and mothers us through the ups and downs of the adventure of discipleship, and learning to let her do those things only better equips us to serve the purpose we’re called to.
Archbishop Vigneron is very clear about Our Lady’s critical role in empowering disciples to unleash the Gospel and in Marker 10.1 he writes, “As at the first Pentecost, still today, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of the Apostles, leads us in prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit and inspires us with a sure confidence that the Lord hears and will not fail to answer.” On the Feast of the Assumption earlier this month, Director of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship for the Archdiocese of Detroit, Dr. Marlon De La Torre joined Teresa Tomeo on Ave Maria Radio, for his monthly segment, “No Bystanders!” to share why this particular marker in Unleash the Gospel matters so much, what it means for each of us and how we can live our lives, continually guided by this star of evangelization.
During their discussion, Dr. De La Torre and Teresa highlight that the emphasis on Our Lady in Unleash the Gospel is critical because without her, we cannot have a complete understanding of our Lord. As the Mother of God, Mary gives us insights into who God is that we cannot get elsewhere. And, as if that alone were not enough, on top of the unique ways we can grow in relationship with God through Mary, she is full of grace and full of gifts, constantly showering her love on each of us.
When Jesus gave his mother to us, he did so with the desire for us to embrace her the way St. John took her in as his own mother. So what does that embrace look like for us today? There are a few things we can do to truly embrace Mary as our mother:
- Seek her guidance: as our motherly caregiver, she always wants what is best for us and desires for us to only grow closer to her Son. By seeking her guidance on all matters, we can have confidence she’ll lead us into deeper intimacy with Jesus.
- Ask for her intercession: bring all your intentions, fears, worries, decisions—whatever they may be—ask for her prayers over every matter of your life. As your mother, she wants to intercede on your behalf.
- Follow her and follow her example: if the adage “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” typically applies to kids and their parents, then we should start to live more and more like Mary every day! How can you begin to follow her example of unwavering faith in God when he revealed his plan, unshakable courage and confidence in God in the midst of God’s unexpected plan and tremendous tenderness and humility in her love for others?
Following Our Lady’s example should begin with examining what God has revealed about her in Scripture—the story of her fiat, the way she called the shots at the wedding at Cana and how she courageously followed her Son all the way to cross. Yet, in addition to Scripture, various approved apparitions of Mary reveal even more about her tender love as our mother. When discussing apparitions, Dr. De La Torre points out that each apparition’s purpose is to convey the message of Jesus and each message Mary delivers always includes three things: “(1) Go to my Son, (2) Rebuild my Church, and (3) I am your mother.” By acquainting ourselves with these appearances of Our Lady, we not only gain a greater sense of who our mother is, but we can receive and respond to the message she has for us—a message that always points to Jesus.
Ultimately, Mary, the Star of Evangelization, is the patroness of our lives. Even when we go astray, she never stops mothering us, protecting us and caring for us; and she is the mom we can turn to in our time of need. And as joyful missionary disciples, on a mission of sharing the Good News wherever we go, learning to depend on her care will only propel us forward boldly in all that we do.