No human being has influenced the world the way that Mary, the Mother of God, has.
Of course, Jesus — who is both divine and human — is on another level entirely. But among human beings, no king, no hero, no military leader, no scientist, no explorer, no celebrity, no philosopher, no religious leader or saint comes close to having the kind of the influence that Our Lady has had on human hearts and affairs.
Let’s start with her “fiat, her “yes” to God. It was through her “yes” that the redemption of the entire world took place. The single most important event in all of human history was worked through her.
She is the Mother of God, and the Immaculate Conception. She is Queen of Heaven and Earth and the Terror of Demons, which speak to her power.
Mary continues to be honored and invoked in prayerful confidence in every country of the world. She is honored by nations and whole continents as Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady Queen of Poland and Our Lady of Africa, to name just a few.
Her apparitions have changed the world, bringing new faith and hope to whole peoples. Millions upon millions visit the shrines that mark these apparitions to show devotion and to invoke her help.
Images of Our Lady have helped shape the faith of entire peoples, such as Our Lady of Aparecida, the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, Our Lady of Charity in Cuba, Our Lady of the Cape in Canada and Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn in Lithuania
And around the world, from Alaska to Argentina, Knights turn to Our Lady of Guadalupe as their patroness. The miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, like so many other Marian images, is associated with miracles — illustrating the power of her intercession.
Her special influence on the Knights of Columbus is profound. Our founder, Father Michael McGivney, loved her and is buried in a church dedicated to her, the same church in which our Order was founded. In more recent decades, the Knights played a role in making the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe widely known throughout North America and the entire world. In Poland, France, Ukraine, Korea, the Philippines and the entire world, Knights have pledged to serve our Lord and to honor his mother.
And now, as we begin this month of Mary during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps we can turn our minds and hearts to another dimension of her influence — her intimate and personal role as mother of each one of us. This Queen, the Mother of God, the New Eve, is also our Mother in a personal way. Jesus, in his words from the Cross, entrusted Mary to each one of us and each one of us to Mary (Jn 19:26-27). With these words Jesus did more than make sure his mother would be cared for after his death. He did more even than establish a special relationship between Mary and John. In fact, what he was doing was giving her to each one of us as our mother. There is no more intimate bond in this life than that of mother and child. And this is the bond that we have with the very Mother of God.
She’s more than a model for how to live life. She’s more than a close spiritual friend — like many of the saints may be to us. She is more than a guardian, though her protection is powerful. She is our intimate, personal, loving mother.
And our response? It is the response of John who, “from that hour took her into his home.” To bring Mary into our homes means welcoming her as the mother of ourselves and our families. It also means bringing her into our inner most being.
“The Christian,” St. John Paull II wrote, “brings her into everything that makes up his inner life” (Redemptoris Mater 45).
When we pray the rosary or turn to the devotion of Our Lady of Sorrows, we are calling out to our mother. When we invoke Our Lady of Guadalupe, when we put a Miraculous Medal around our necks or sing the Salve Regina, we are calling on our mother. When we light a candle before her image or pray to her under any one of her many titles, we are having an intimate meeting with our mother.
These are all moments of deep intimacy and love. In these moments we encounter the overwhelming compassion and concern she has for us. This is especially true in times of trouble, of doubt and of extreme need. She cares even about the little things in our lives — such has having enough wine at a wedding banquet.
And as a loving mother she speaks to us. Her words provide comfort and bring consolation. She says to us what she said to St. Juan Diego: “Hear me and understand well, my little son, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your mother? Are you not under my protection?”
Her words also guide us. She says to us, as she said to the servants at the wedding feast in Cana, “Do whatever Jesus tells you.” May God grant us the grace in a special way during this month of Mary to hear and to obey.