“And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” – Lk. 2:19

My non-Catholic friends often ask me, “Why do Catholics worship Mary?” I would simply answer that we only worship God. We just honor Mary because she is the Mother of God. Then they ask me, “Why?” One friend even commented that Mary was “simply a vessel” and that God “simply used her.” At the time, I didn’t have a rebuttal for him, but his comment stuck with me, and I kept thinking about it. I remembered that I had once thought the same, and before learning about the Rosary, I had thought why so many of the Mysteries were about Mary.

Then during the end of Lent, I went on a retreat and had some intimate time with the 14 stations of the Cross. The image of Mary reaching out to Jesus and trying to comfort Him when they met on Calvary, the image of her under His cross, and especially the image of her holding His lifeless body in her arms struck me with deep pain. Then I came across this verse (Lk. 2:19), and I see it repeated multiple times: at the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Presentation at the Temple, and the finding of the missing adolescent Jesus in the temple after three days. Most people would either show great excitement or great anger, but Mary was quiet and just reflected on each surprising event and word. What strength, courage, and faith! Why do Catholics hold Mary in such high honor? She was truly the Mother of Jesus, our God, and she was mother to Him for a lifetime, not a surrogate mother or a foster parent.

We hold Mother Mary in such high regard because she is a Mother, a guide and a guardian. At the Annunciation, she taught us to say, “Yes Lord, here I am. Do with me as you will.” Throughout her life, she taught us how to handle stress and pain with silence and reflection. Let us pray to Mary and lean on her as a child to a mother.

Blessed Mother, help us to be as intimate with God as you are. Please lend us your courage, grace, and faith in times of distress, and humility and reflection in the times of joy and pride, so that we may truly nurture the Gospel in our heart. Amen.

Thien Tran