Why Mary Matters
by Sonja Corbitt
I don’t know why it always surprises me that when I choose something, I often find God has also somehow chosen it for me. I like to tell people that I offer “Bible study spinach that tastes like cake.” When I selected the Magnificat for my Bible Study Evangelista Show study series, I was wading into unfamiliar territory.
The Magnificat is “Mary’s Song” recorded for us in Luke’s Gospel. While Mary is a familiar friend to most Catholics, as a convert from denominationalism, I had a “Meh!” notion toward Jesus’ mother.
As I began to do the research, however, I found my heart slowly changing as I made a startling discovery: No one could love Jesus’ mother more than he does. And he was inviting me (and he’s inviting YOU) to get to know her the way he knows her.
I wondered why would he do that? How does he know her? What does that have to do with me?
I was humbled when the realization first hit me that Jesus must have been a little put off by my ambivalence toward his mother. Experiencing her gentle motherliness has been a profound and beautiful gift from them both.
Mary Is the Model of Prayer
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI called Mary the model of prayer. She was (and is) not who I imagined—some quiet, shy, naïve teenager who stumbled into the virgin birth as though she fell into a rain puddle. She was made for it—and for Jesus. And she had to be fierce to mother him.
Even now, Mary retains her utter uniqueness because she alone can be at the same time mother and disciple of the Lord. When we draw close to her and enter into her yes as fellow Christians, we allow her to gather us up in her motherly mantle. We are pulled up into the soaring communion of love that she knows—like a big hug—communicated through the man who “gave himself up for her” (Eph 5:25) and for each of us, even unto death on a Cross.
Although I was unaware of it when I first began to study the Magnificat, I came to see her song as a personal gift from Jesus, preserved for us by the Holy Spirit for millennia. This ancient canticle shows us the many ways that Jesus’ mother is a very special gift from him to the whole Church.
Hear the Heartbeat of the Church
Mary’s joyful response to the revelation of the Incarnation, recorded in Luke’s Gospel, is the heartbeat of the liturgical and devotional life of the Church, revealed in both the Rosary (in the Annunciation and Visitation Mysteries) and daily office (at Vespers).
While the Magnificat’s origins have been the subject of academic debate, Mary approaches us as a mother, not academic. Therefore, my own exploration of the Magnificat was more meditative than critical.
Jesus taught me to approach his mother as an icon of every soul seeking its relationship to God, and he invited me to experience her invitation to a particular relationship with the Holy Spirit that is revealed through her song.
As she does for each of us, I believe Mary invited me herself, through Jesus, into her own relationship with the Holy Spirit by inspiring me to study and imitate her Magnificat. She approached me as her child by sharing her own method of praying with scripture, simply (I am convinced) because she knows how much I love the scriptures and wanted to connect with me through something we share and consider deeply special.
Why Mary Matters
How tender; how sweet; how beautiful; how powerful. What a precious gift. In following her, I personally experienced and grew in her humility, her, depth, her strength, her love, and her motherhood.
Why does Mary matter? Because she knows the sacraments with the scriptures are what brings the power of the Holy Spirit to bear most fully on our daily lives and circumstances (CCC 103). Through her Magnificat, offered to us daily in the scriptures, she longs to share something of her experience with each of us. As such, I think you might find studying her song with me as nourishing as spinach and maybe even as tasty as cake.
I pray your journey through Mary’s Magnificat is so life-changing and fruitful that you experience exactly why Mary matters as deeply as I have.Download this article as a PDF here.
Sonja Corbitt is a Catholic author and speaker who has produced several multimedia Bible studies. She is the author of Unleashed, Fearless, and Exalted: How the Power of the Magnificat Can Transform Us. Corbitt is the host of Bible Study Evangelista Show on radio, podcast, and CatholicTV.
Instagram: @biblestudyevangelista | Facebook: sonjacorbitt | www.biblestudyevangelista.com
Books to Consider
Based on Your Reading
|Devotion to Mary Is Rooted in the Bible by Rev. Edward Looney||Marian Consecration by Katie Hartfiel||Opening the Door to Mary by Rev. James Phalan, C.S.C.||Mary in the Golden Age of Hollywood Cinema by Maria Morera Johnson|