A Word in Season
M.O.M.S. the Word for Mary
I love Momma Mary.
Oh, yeah, I know she's got many more formal titles: the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Theotokos or the Mother of God, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Ark of the Covenant, and every amazing title we find in the Litany of Loreto handed down from the 16th century.
Over several decades, my relationship with Mary progressed in friendship and familial love. I've grown from being a casual observer of her role in history to a becoming her daughter. For me, Mary has changed from being a distant biblical character to my prayer partner, friend, sister, mentor, and mother.
Today I am Marian-consecrated, and a devotee of the rosary. My family and close friends with whom I pray know I often call her Momma Mary. I also favor my own affectionate nicknames that reflect her motherhood toward me.
Mom's the word, you could say. Or rather M.O.M.S. is an acronym I made up, as an easy shorthand, for the personal litany of how Mary mothers me.
Mary is the Mother of Many Sinners. (M.O.M.S.) But she doesn't want me, or you, to stay that way. She wants to bring us to Jesus. It's a job given to her by Jesus himself. In some of his last words from the Cross, Jesus gave Mary as a mother to all of us, in the order of grace, when he gave her to John, the beloved disciple: "Behold your mother" (Jn. 19:27). Those wishing to become beloved disciples would do well to imitate John, making room for Mary in their homes and hearts.
Every disciple must struggle against sin, except Mary, the Immaculate Conception and the perfect disciple. Mary, full of grace, is a beautiful tutor for discipleship. As the disciples waited for the Pentecost, I imagine Mary's Immaculate Heart burned with love for each sinner who longed to be a better witness for Christ. At Pentecost, the same Spirit that overshadowed Mary in the Annunciation instilled a holy fire in each soul in the Upper Room. In the early days of the nascent church, Mary was likely a mentoring presence to the disciples (Acts 1:14) in the ways and life of the Spirit.
Going all the way back to the stable of Bethlehem we see Mary's maternal heart in action. Mary and Jesus were the only non-sinners in the room, but she welcomed each imperfect visitor who drew near to her most precious Son, from the rich and famous Magi, to the most humble shepherd from the backcountry.
Mary is the Mother of my Merciful Savior. (M.O.M.S.) Mercy has done more for me than I can fully explain here. Through Mary, the whole world was able to receive Jesus, and the new life that comes through his unfathomable and deep mercy. Thanks to Jesus, we have also been given a most merciful mother. I need both.
Every Scriptural depiction of Mary shows her love and concern for ordinary folks like me who were sinners desiring to come closer to Jesus. Mary doesn't condone our sin, but she doesn't judge it either. She leaves that to Jesus' mercy. That is why she is also known as "a refuge for sinners." She just invites us to be with her and then nudges us to "do whatever He tells you" (Lk. 2:5).
Mary is also the Mother of Many Saints. (M.O.M.S.) This gets at the heart of what she truly longs for in each of her many children: that they grow to be saints who are madly in love with her Jesus.
St. Louis de Montfort taught that Mary is the molder of saints, who were once sinners.
I say the saints are molded in Mary. There is a vast difference between carving a statue by blows of hammer and chisel and making a statue by using a mold. Sculptors and statue makers work hard and need plenty of time to make statues by the first method. But the second method does not involve much work and takes very little time. St. Augustine, speaking to our Blessed Lady says, "You are worthy to be called the mold of God." Mary is a mold capable of forming people into the image of the God-man. Anyone who is cast into this divine mold is quickly shaped and molded into Jesus and Jesus into him. At little cost and in a very short time he will become Christ-like since he is cast into the very same mold that fashioned a God-man.
Pat Gohn is a Catholic writer, speaker, and the host of the Among Women Podcast and blog. Her book Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood is published by Ave Maria Press. Subscribe to “A Word in Season” via email or RSS.