The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Fruit of the Mystery:
Devotion to Mary
Devotion to Mary is Devotion to Christ
by Christie Luibrand
“Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation.” Lumen Gentium para. 62
As a young girl, I felt very drawn to Mary. There was not necessarily a “reason” for this. I could hardly understand her conception, her fiat, her suffering at the foot of the cross. Still, I would often find myself reaching out and touching her feet on prayer cards, taking in her blue mantle and the crown she wore on her head. I would often ask to light a candle or say a “Hail Mary” after Mass. There was a knowing then, a maternal feeling that radiated from her into my own heart. I felt a desire to be more like her.
Except as a teenager, that desire became a source of frustration and misunderstanding. At the time, I was enduring abuse and trauma, and navigating the big feelings that come along with that is a lot for a young woman to go through. As an adult, I look back on this and know I should have run to the feet of Jesus, asked Mary to kneel by my side, and help me to cling to God’s love. Instead, I felt disconnected from my faith, and the messages I was given that I would never measure up began to seep into my heart in unexpected ways.
I began to hold Mary at arm’s length, as well as her Son, because that was easier than feeling like a disappointment. Mary was the ultimate example of humility, piety, and strength. At the time, I didn’t feel like I could ever measure up to her, so I didn’t try. We were so different. I could hardly picture her as a human woman at all. I turned instead to what the world deemed as a “strong woman.”
Over the years I waffled about, seeking truth and guidance. It was full of heartache and pain, before I eventually returned to the faith. As I got to know my Catholic faith more, I began to feel a pull to Mary again. That pull became undeniable when I became a mother. It was a slow process, one I did not even know was occurring until one day I was listening to our local Christian radio during the Christmas season.
“Mary, Did You Know?” was playing, and I was humming along, bouncing my newborn baby in her sling as I cleaned the kitchen. “When you kiss your little Baby, you kissed the face of God…” I felt my eyes tearing up. I was overcome with emotion. I looked down at my own baby, and in that moment, I pictured Mary looking down at her Son on the night He was born.
What joy she must have felt, and yet the bittersweet feeling of not being in control or knowing what future was in store for Him. She had carried Jesus in her womb for nine months, feeling His kicks and His movements. She felt the pains of labor, like I had recently done. She too woke in the middle of the night to feed Him, to shush Him, to rock Him back to sleep. Suddenly Mary was very human to me after all; she knew exactly what I was going through.
As my children got older, I reflected more and more on Mary’s fiat. How her “yes” did not end at Jesus’ conception, but was given every day. Motherhood is much the same. Mothers die to themselves in order to provide for their children. When my children cry out in the middle of the night, I stir myself out of bed to reassure them. When they need to be held during sickness, I let them cling to me even though I know I will come down with whatever they have in a few days.
Mary said yes to those things, too. Mary also had to say “yes” to the uncertainty that comes with raising children. She had to trust in God and His plan, dying to her own hopes and dreams for her Son. After all, she loved Him! I am sure she had dreams of who He would be as an adult. I too have to say “yes” to whatever comes to my children, hoping and trusting that God will protect them. That is no easy task.
I also began to understand her pain and suffering as she witnessed her Son being nailed to the cross. How she saw her child take His last breath. How she held Him in her arms after His passing. The same arms that lifted Him in play, or hugged Him when He cried, or held Him as He nursed. I was and continue to be in awe of her for being strong enough to handle such things. Surely, she was a woman I wanted to imitate and learn from. I wanted to learn to be so courageous, so trusting, so loving. I wanted to love and serve God the way she did⸺with her entire life.
That is why we, as Catholics, are called to have devotion to Mary. She serves as the example of what we are called to be, and in so doing, she points you right back to her Son. The person she was doing it all for. Her life and her fiat reflect how we are meant to live out our own faith and vocations. We are to bear Christ into the world in our own unique way. When it comes to motherhood, this is literal. We are to bring the light of Christ into our homes and teach our children about Him. Yes, through our words, but also through our actions. Through graces that Mary possessed.
Devotion to Mary is indeed devotion to Christ. Mary loved God so much that she was willing to sacrifice everything she knew, everything she hoped for, to bring His plan into fruition. She wants for us to know Him as intimately as she does. As we kneel at His feet, we kneel with her, arms linked together, her mantle covering us both.
About Christie: Christie Luibrand, MSW, LISW is a mental health therapist turned stay-at-home mom. She currently writes about all things faith, motherhood, and wellness at HerDailyFiat.com. Christie is a monthly contributor to CatholicMom.com and has been featured on Spoken Bride, The Young Catholic Woman, and the Blessed Is She blog. When she is not chasing around her two little ones, she is enjoying hikes with her husband and discussing books with her girlfriends. You can find her on Instagram where she shares more day-to-day life and musings at HerDailyFiat.