Mary goes by many titles. The Blessed Mother, the Mother of God, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, the Immaculate Conception, the Queen of Heaven. These are all fitting, and give Our Lady the honor due to her as the mother of Our Savior.
But for some, Mary’s sinlessness is an obstacle, something that makes her difficult to relate to. This was the case for a listener named Annie who recently called in to Father Simon Says™. She shared that she was not close to Mary, partly because she found it difficult to identify with a woman who was the perfect mother, the perfect spouse, the perfect person. She asked host Fr. Richard Simon for his advice on how to grow closer to Our Lady.
“Perfect, she was,” Fr. Simon responded. “But boy did she suffer. And she suffers like you suffer, being a mother. Your constant worry is about your children, is it not? Well, her constant worry is about her children.”
Fr. Simon also encouraged Annie to not equate Mary’s freedom from sin with a freedom from her humanity. “She’s perfect, but she’s not perfect in the way that most people think of perfect,” he explained. “She is not cold, distant. She is a mother. And I am particularly grateful for her maternity.”
Father Simon also shared something in his own life that helps him grow in his love for Our Lady. “Get a beautiful picture of the Blessed Mother, of mother and child,” he said. “My personal favorite is Our Lady of Perpetual Help. That picture is so beautiful, it’s kind of in the old icon style. And you may think it’s not that beautiful but look closely at it. You’ll see two angels on either side of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and those two angels are carrying the instruments of crucifixion.”
Explaining why this particular image helps him grow closer to Mary, Fr. Simon explained, “There’s an old story that goes along with it, that Jesus as a child had a vision of the crucifixion, a vision of these angels carrying the instruments of torture. And He, in His humanity, was frightened. Now, this isn’t in the Bible, it’s just an old legend. But because He was frightened He ran back to His mother. [In the picture] you’ll see one of His sandals is hanging off, because He ran so fast He almost lost His sandal. The look of compassion on her face, and of sorrow because she cannot save her Son from His destiny, that picture makes me fall in love with the Blessed Mother.”
Listen to the full conversation below: