3 Reasons Mary Helps Evangelize Our Loved Ones

3 Reasons Mary Helps Evangelize Our Loved Ones May 19, 2015
Jean II Restout : Pentecôte, Wikimedia Commons

As Pentecost approaches, the Daughters of St. Paul pray a novena to Mary, Queen of Apostles.

Mary was present at Pentecost and she is traditionally depicted at the center of the apostles.

Blessed James Alberione, our founder, wrote a prayer with the line:

[Mary] obtain for us an abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as you did for the first apostles.

As new statistics were released recently that show more people leaving the Church, we need Mary’s intercession more than ever.

Each of us knows someone who has left the Church.

Mary can help.

Here are some reasons why:

1. Mary is Our Loved Ones’ Mother:  I once had a very strong prayer experience in which I was desperately pleading with Mary to intercede for some people I love very much who have left the Church.

While in prayer, I felt the Blessed Mother turn to me with compassion and love and say:

You are concerned about your loved one because you love them very much. But imagine how much I must love them. I am their Mother. The ones you love are always beneath my mantel and surrounded by my prayers.

What a beautiful image to carry with us: Mary, with her mantle around our loved ones.

2. Mary is the Evangelizer Par Excellence: In my book, The Prodigal You Love: Inviting Loved Ones Back to the Church, I go back to the model of Mary frequently because she was the first evangelizer. Mary knows how to give Jesus to our loved ones because she was the first to give him to the world. Mary can guide us as we navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of relating to loved ones who have rejected the faith or even God altogether. Her example can teach us how to reach out to our loved ones.

Pope Francis writes in Joy of the Gospel:

There is a Marian “style” to the Church’s work of evangelization. Whenever we look to Mary, we come to believe once again in the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness. In her we see that humility and tenderness are not virtues of the weak but of the strong who need not treat others poorly in order to feel important themselves. (288)

3. Mary Lived in Union with the Holy Spirit: In order to effectively reach our loved ones, we have to disconnect from our own ideas, opinions, egos, anger, and stress and tap into the presence of the Holy Spirit living in us through our Baptism. Mary surrendered herself in all that she did to the Holy Spirit. She can teach us to do the same so that the Holy Spirit can work through us.

If you know anyone who has left the Church, this month that is traditionally devoted to the Blessed Mother would be a beautiful time to ask her to accompany our loved ones with her prayers and love.

And if you would like to join in the Queen of the Apostles novena, Sr. Marie-Paul Curley is posting every day.

Sr. Marianne Lorraine is also posting every day for a novena to the Holy Spirit.

I’m a “better late than never” novena person, so no worries, just join the fun!


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  • Sophia Sadek

    There is a story from the biography of Ignatius of Loyola that he became irate with a Muslim who ridiculed him for believing Mary was still a virgin after giving birth to Jesus. In some cultures, it is absurd for a mother to be considered a virgin. John Meier recognizes that the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity is a medieval invention. It could be considered a stumbling block for people entering the Catholic faith or for those who remain.

    • Dee Dillinger

      Many Catholic teachings and traditions could be seen as stumbling blocks to modern ‘rational’ people. Why would the concept of Mary’s PV get any more negative reactions than transubstantiation, or the infallibility of the pope, for instance? Should we just do away with any facet of Catholicism that secular or non-Catholic folks might find fantastic or distasteful? What does Mary’s PV have to do with this post anyway? By the way, while I am not convinced that there is ample evidence of Mary’s PV, biblical or otherwise, citing one controversial scholar’s assertion as fact is a bit absurd.

      • Sophia Sadek

        How ideas become official doctrine is more important than you might imagine. There are people who contend that the idea of perpetual virginity was an accommodation to the tradition of Isis worship. Isis was said to remain a virgin after giving birth to the solar orb.

        • Sr Marianne Lorraine Trouve

          There is no good evidence for the claim that Catholic teaching derives from the Isis cult. Marian devotion developed in the Church on the basis of Scripture and reflection on the Christian mysteries. The early writers like Irenaeus, Origen, etc. wrote much against pagan ideas. Jaroslav Pelikan’s “Mary Through the Centuries” is a good exposition of how Marian teaching developed in the Church, written by an excellent scholar.

          • Sophia Sadek

            The Marian cult ascended as wisdom declined.

          • Sr Marianne Lorraine Trouve

            No, true wisdom is Jesus Christ, who is the Truth. Mary as his mother is honored as the Seat of Wisdom.
            You seem to have some kind of new age or gnostic worldview.

          • Sophia Sadek

            Jesus probably got his wisdom from someone other than his mother.

          • Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble

            Sophia, please. If you want to dialogue and disagree I am fine with that. But you are clearly just trying to irritate.

          • Sophia Sadek

            Mothers can only do so much. My mother gave me everything I needed in order to learn and grow. She helped me to leave the nest. Everything that I learned after that came from other teachers. Why should this not have been the case for Jesus?

          • Sr Marianne Lorraine Trouve

            Jesus is both God and man. As God he is divine Wisdom itself. As man he learned from Mary in his human knowledge. We’re not saying that Mary is divine or infinite, but she was especially gifted by God.
            It’s obvious you don’t believe in the Catholic faith, so I’m not sure what point you are really trying to make, except perhaps to try and dictate to us what you think our faith should mean.

          • Sophia Sadek

            Dictating meaning is a bad habit to get into. I would not recommend it. People have been burned at the stake for failing to kowtow to dictated meaning.

    • As far as I know Muslims believe in the virgin birth and perpetual vifginity. That story sounds suspect.

      • Sophia Sadek

        I have not seen any Muslim affirmation of the doctrine of perpetual virginity. Muslims consider Jesus to have been a human prophet.

        • Actually I’m not a hundred percent sure on the perpetual viginity. When I searched I could not find anything to contradict it nor support it. But Muslims consider her a virgin (they acknowledge Jesus being a virgin conception) and there was nothing I could find that said she had lost her virginity.

          • Justin

            There are a lot of Q&A websites where Imams answer questions for Muslims from the perspective of their respective schools- I found a couple posts on this question (did take some digging, though!). It might help to use the terms Maryam and Isa for the purposes of the search.

          • Well, I’m not interested enough to go there.

        • Justin

          Muslims believe in the virgin birth- its expressly stated in the Qur’an. As to the perpetual virginity, it seems to be held consistently by the schools of Islamic thought- they tend to argue that she never even married, and have no tradition of a Joseph. I wonder, though, if the original story you mentioned may be accurate, but owing more to poor word choice/translation for the word “virgin?”

          • Sophia Sadek

            That is the first time I have encountered any claim of a perpetual virginity in Muslim culture. Islam is far from monolithic. There may be some syncretism at work there.
            The original prophesy used a word that means young woman. The virgin term shows up in the Septuagint translation, which also loses much in the way of nomenclature. This is not unique to translations from Hebrew/Aramaic to Greek. There were corruptions in the account of the Flood in the work of the Babylonian priest, Berossus. I suspect some of these corruptions may be deliberate due to the occult nature of the source material.
            Note that the Zoroastrian tradition had a virgin impregnation prophesy.

          • Justin

            Islam is not monolithic, but is dominated by a finite, well defined number of orthodox schools; a Muslim who does not believe in the teachings of the schools on Maryam would be like, say, a Christian who does not believe in the virgin birth- its not something you would find outside of progressive circles, and would be very exceedingly rare outside of modernity.

    • Sr Marianne Lorraine Trouve

      Sophia, Mary’s perpetual virginity is a dogma of the Catholic faith. Its truth doesn’t depend on whether people of other faiths accept it or not. We can’t do away with doctrines just because some people don’t accept them. If we did that, we would have no teachings left at all!
      The deeper meaning of Mary’s perpetual virginity is best understood in light of the theology of the body. God called her to a most special and unique mission–to be the Mother of God. She became a mother to all people spiritually, as is shown from John’s Gospel when Jesus said to the beloved disciple: “Behold, your mother,” and to Mary, “Behold, your Son.”
      Mary united in herself the vocation to motherhood and the vocation to virginity for the sake of the Kingdom. It was the Holy Spirit who worked this mystery in her. God can do all things, as Gabriel said to Mary about Elizabeth, “Nothing is impossible with God.”
      The idea that Mary’s perpetual virginity is a “medieval invention” can’t stand up against the many writings of the early Church Fathers that speak of it. For example:
      St Basil the Great (4th century): “The friends of Christ refuse to admit that the Mother of God ever ceased to be a virgin” (MG 31, 1468). Many other texts exist.

      • Sr Marianne Lorraine Trouve

        Quite a few texts are cited in volume 1 of “Mary and the Fathers of the Church,” by Luigi Gambero, an eminent patristic marian scholar. Writers he cites include Augustine, Clement of Alexandria, Cyril of Jerusalem, Jerome, Gregory of Nyssa, Chrysostom, etc. These were all writing in the early centuries, long before medieval times.

      • Sophia Sadek

        I was under the impression that Mary was the mother of Jesus. How did she become the mother of the Catholic deity? It was not invented until the fourth century.

        • Sr Marianne Lorraine Trouve

          It’s in the Gospel: “The power of the Most High will overshadow you and therefore the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1) Because Jesus is God, Mary being his mother is rightly called the Mother of God, or Theotokos.
          It took the Church some time to more fully understand this and doctrinal formulations came later. But that is not inventing doctrine, simply drawing out what was there from the beginning.

          • Sophia Sadek

            The followers of Jesus were persecuted as heretics.

  • Blessed be the Holy Virgin. Our special reverence for Mary gives Catholicism a feminine side that I think Protestant denominations lack.