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Blog Post #34 - Intimidation or Intimacy?

By Carol Kurivial, May 29, 2020

The Blessed Virgin Mary | Relationship | Marian Devotion

Some things just take a little time. And although I have grown to have a deep love, respect and appreciation for Our Blessed Mother, it has not always been so.

Growing up Catholic and experiencing a Catholic education in my formative years gave me a good introduction to Mary, with a lot of emphasis on praying the Rosary, May Crownings, Marian hymns and feast days, and, in general, positive conversations in my religious education classes about this woman chosen to be the Mother of God.

It was a good start on the relationship, if you call viewing someone as an unrelatable holy icon a good start. Truth is, the significance of Mary never really resonated with me. And, yep, I felt guilty about it from time to time, and even occasionally wondered why she and I weren’t better friends. I wouldn’t go so far as to say we didn’t get along, I just didn’t feel it, nor did I think about her a whole lot, or do much of anything to grow closer. And that’s the way things went for a very long time.

And then things changed. It wasn’t anything dramatic. It kind of happened over a period of years. I started to read more and more about Mary and how Jesus places her in such high esteem and wants us to do the same. I read about how Jesus gave her to us as our mother in much the same way that God is also our Father and Jesus our brother or best friend.

I started to better comprehend what a tremendous role model Mary was and is for my life. And who doesn’t need a really good role model? In fact, I just read this week that if you’re struggling with a certain virtue, you should think of one of your best role models....someone who has that virtue down in spades...and just emulate them, and you’ll be on your way to having a better grip on that virtue. You name the virtue and chances are that Mary would be a good role model to emulate! Just sayin’...

Unfortunately, I also heard on History 101 that according to a recent survey, 96% of American children know who Ronald McDonald is, and the only character MORE recognizable is Santa Claus. There was no mention of Jesus anywhere in the lineup...or His mother Mary. 

And that’s too bad, because both of them are people whose lives on earth and in Heaven are worth exemplifying. If anyone should be recognizable, shouldn’t it be our Savior? And it wouldn’t hurt to know His mother either. A great way to get to know someone has always been via getting to know a close relative...especially the mother. 

As I reflect on my questionable relationship with Mary over much of my life, I think there’s a good chance it stems from the fact that I just couldn’t identify with her perceived perfection. I knew Jesus was both fully human AND fully divine, so I’ve always expected Him to be pretty amazing. But Mary is not divine, just human, and still managed to do everything perfectly. At least that’s the way it always seemed to me. Who can argue that this woman appeared to consistently do the right thing and was extraordinarily holy in the process? Perhaps all of this perfection and holiness was just intimidating to me. Maybe it was the fact that she was born without original sin. Or maybe it was some of her titles that overwhelmed me: Mother of Perpetual Help, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven, Star of the Sea, Cause of Our Joy, and the New Eve. 

But, like I said, over the years something happened, and that intimidation (if that’s what it was), changed to intimacy. It started when I heard personal accounts of friends and acquaintances of mine who shared that they looked to Mary for support and inspiration when experiencing their greatest crosses. They talked about her like she was a great source of comfort and peace, hope and inspiration, faithfulness and love...and that she was there for them through some of their greatest trials and triumphs...which got me to thinking. 

Why wouldn’t I want to grow closer to Mary and feel that kind of compassion and support? I’d be flat out nuts not to befriend this lady (who happens to be the mother of our Savior) and get to know her better. 

You can check out some of the things I’ve learned by taking a peek at this week’s Luminous Ministries Facebook, Instagram, and Blog posts.

The most important thing I’ve learned in regards to Mary is that everything about her leads us back to her Son, which is exactly what she wants it to do. Mary is here for us, but she wants the focus to be on Jesus. Like any good mother, she understands what really matters and wants what’s best for us in the long run. So, go ahead, take the plunge, and begin today to develop a more beautiful relationship that will always lead you back to Jesus.     

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