Fr. Ed Dougherty, M.M., The Christophers’ Board of Directors
Mary’s Deep Love For Humanity
May 5, 2019
May is the month of Mary, which makes this a perfect time to begin a reflection on her miraculous presence in the world around us. Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces, meaning that we have recourse to her in prayer for the graces poured out by God. Her role as a powerful intercessor has been proven throughout history, so we should get to know stories about Mary to strengthen our faith and prepare ourselves to turn to her with confidence in times of need.
The story of the Wedding at Cana exemplifies how Mary’s intercession works. As the Gospel of John recounts, Jesus attended a wedding along with his mother and his disciples. While they were there, the wine ran out at the party. So Mary approached Jesus and asked him to intervene. His initial response was to say that his hour had not yet come. But Mary persisted and told the servants to do as he instructed. It was at that point that Jesus acquiesced to his mother’s wishes and performed the miracle of turning water into wine.
This is how Mary’s mediation works. All graces flow from God but it is a sign of great reverence, wisdom, and respect to go through the Mother of God when seeking divine intervention. Like any good son, Christ will prioritize the requests brought to him by his mother. And Mary has been interceding in this way for individuals and great causes around the world ever since.
Five of the sixteen Vatican recognized apparitions of Mary in history have occurred in France. The most famous of these occurred in the vicinity of the small market town of Lourdes in Southern France in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains. Fourteen-year-old Bernadette Soubirous, who was poor, uneducated, and sickly, received visions she described as being of a “small young lady” over the course of several months in the year of 1858. The Lady referred to herself as “the Immaculate Conception” and called for penance, conversion of sinners, and for a shrine to be built where the apparitions took place, which at the time was a garbage dump.
Four years earlier, Pope Pius IX promulgated the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, a topic likely discussed only by theologians. Bernadette didn’t even understand what these words meant, so this became a perfect way for Mary to prove to the world that her appearances were real and to also confirm the dogma put forth by the Pope. A healing spring poured forth from the ground where the visions occurred and people began to visit the site in droves. Authorities tried to stop the crowds from coming but ultimately could not stand against the will of the faithful.
Four years later and after a full investigation commissioned by the local Bishop, the apparitions were declared authentic and by 1876 a Basilica had been erected over the grotto. Multiple miracles have been confirmed by the Church in connection with the healing waters of Lourdes, and countless more people claim healings and conversions due to their pilgrimages to this holy site.
Mary’s miraculous intercessions in the world remind us of her deep love for humanity and her willingness to mediate all our concerns to God. This is a profoundly powerful connection that each of us can awaken in our lives when we initiate a relationship with Mary. So pray for the intercession of the Blessed Mother and you will find her drawing you closer to the heart of Jesus.
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