One needs to take Church metaphors seriously, but not literally. For example, one might say that Mary is the Mother of the Church. And one might say that the Church is our Mother. But one probably should not say, therefore, that Mary is our grandmother.
But today is Mother’s Day, giving us occasion to think about, and be grateful for, the mothers in our lives. Our natural mothers, those who acted as mothers, and the discovery of mothering impulses in our hearts.
And, of course, May is the month of Mary, Jesus’ mother and our Mother. A classic Marian prayer, not much in use today, is the “Memorare.” It goes like this:
Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of Virgins, my mother. To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word incarnate, despise not our petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.
Recently a writer in the Jesuit magazine America noted that this prayer may be especially powerful in a time when depression and anxiety are epidemic among younger people. As the young writer reflected:
As a young Catholic woman working in media, conveniently in the middle of her ‘quarter-life crisis,’ living and attending school in one of the most costly cities in the world, I worry a lot. Like, a lot. I often compare myself to other thriving 20-somethings who are successful or financially stable. Those who seem to have their futures figured out, their whole act together (at least on social media). It’s like watching a movie trailer: you only see the good stuff. Anxiety is a daily battle, a constant negative voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough…But I’ve learned over time that both gratitude and grace can help fight the demons of anxiety. The Memorare is my shield. It inspires me to be confident, to have faith in everything that I do and to remember my own worth…Like Mary, I aspire to live confidently, with a grateful, forgiving and servant heart and to let God lead me where He wants me. To let go of the fear and say yes, even and especially when I don’t feel it. My story is just getting started.
How do we retrieve a strong Marian spirituality for our time? I would submit that the Memorare is one powerful tool.
What do you think?
And let us pray for/with one another.
The Paulist Center