a holy Wife.

a holy Wife.

Mary alcove at St. James CathedralI didn’t always love Mary. Don’t get me wrong, she’s awesome. She is the mother of Christ, after all.

When I was in high school and first learned that Mary was only about 14 when she was pregnant with Jesus, I was in awe, and yet I felt so far from her. The only things I thought we had in common were that we were about the same age and that we are both women, but that’s where our similarities ended.

In college I learned more about her in a theological way, though I didn’t really learn much about her with my heart, if that makes any sense. She was there, and the more I learned about her (at least in the theological sense), the further away she felt. For crying out loud, she is perfect and the only woman in the history of the world to be without sin. Me? I was and am far from perfect and closer to sin. She had an arranged marriage (okay, okay, he turned out to be a saint {literally}…) while I was uncertain of my vocation. She gave birth to the Son of God and I was out making some not-so-bright decisions. She was there, up on high, assumed into Heaven, while I was stuck here on earth, failing daily to be perfect as she was.

I’m not sure exactly when my understanding of and relationship with Mary began to change, though it was certainly after college. If I had to pinpoint the beginning of the change it was probably during my first serious, post-college relationship. I was working at a Marian parish and daily Mass there concluded with the Litany of Loreto. Reciting these different names for her, Mother of Divine Grace, Mother most admirable, Mother of good counsel, mirror of justice, cause of our joy, mystical rose, ark of the covenant, morning star, gate of heaven, allowed me to understand her in a different light. Slowly she became closer to me, closer to my heart and someone I could actually relate to.

Eventually I took up praying the rosary daily. Saint John Paul II remarked that the rosary is his favorite prayer and his daily meeting with Mary. My devotion to and love for Mary only grew the more I prayed the rosary. When I started praying it daily, I only knew the sorrowful mysteries. It took me almost a year to even bother with the other mysteries, but once I learned them and began meditating on them, I drew even closer to Mary.

As a new wife, my devotion to Mary continues to grow. What once separated me from her – her perfection and sinlessness – now draws me to her. She was the perfect wife, even in the most trying of circumstances. I am not a virgin pregnant with the Son of God, told to go to a foreign land after giving birth, or asked to leave my family behind. I don’t live in a shack and hopefully won’t have to give birth in a stable. In the times that I come up short as a wife – the laundry is still dirty, the dishes need to be washed, the bed needs to made – she reminds me that there is another day. Rather than reminding me of how much I’ve failed, Mary reminds me of my goal: perfection, sanctity, and Heaven. She reminds me that this vocation of marriage can and should be my path to join her in Heaven one day.

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