Our Lady of Marylhurst
May is traditionally the month in which Catholics honor Mary the mother of Jesus. Does this mean Catholics worship Mary? That we think of her as a goddess? No. Catholics honor Mary as an example of what a human person can be if he/she is completely open to the action of God working in his/her life.
Traditional images of Mary show her to be a passive, gentle, proper, quiet, handmaid of the Lord. Yet, there is so much more to Mary. She lived in a world of violence, oppression, and poverty. She lived at a time when women had no rights, not even the right to enter into agreements unless father, brother, husband, or son gave his consent.
It is in this context that Mary says “yes” to the angel of God. She is asked a question, she debates with Gabriel, and then she agrees to the request. She opens herself to becoming the mother of God Incarnate. In doing this she has broken away from sociality rules; she has entered into an agreement on her own.
She also took a huge risk, a risk that could have cost her life. Joseph would have been well within his rights to stone Mary to death for being pregnant outside of their marriage. Mary’s family should have thrown her out, as her dishonor brought dishonor to the entire family.
These are just a couple examples from the New Testament that help us to see the courage of Mary. So as we remember her this month of May, let us not forget the tradition of “the lovely lady dressed in blue” as this image of Mary has meant much to many people. Instead, let us broaden our image of Mary; let us begin to spend time with the many images of Mary that have come to us through Scripture and tradition.
Happy Mary month!