What was Mary Like?
What was Mary Like? We can actually gather from icons, Sacred Scripture, and Marian apparitions (among other things), to discover what Mary was like and is like.
Icons For example, there is the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Mary is wearing a mantle that is blue. I learned on a retreat that this is a sign of motherhood. Mary also wears a red garment. Red is a sign of virginity. Therefore, Mary was both. She was both mother and virgin. Also in the picture, Mary is holding Jesus. One of Jesus’ shoes is hanging off His foot. I was told that it is because the Christ Child ran to His mother, thus losing a sandal in His quick run to her open arms.
Scripture Mary was strong. Not just by the callouses on her hands from grinding grain. She had a strong heart and spirit. Her Immaculate Heart burned with love in imitation of Jesus, whose Sacred Heart burned with love. Taking an unplanned pregnancy from the Lord must have been a hard request, especially knowing that Jesus would increase, and she would decrease. No one would have known about her conceiving Jesus by the Holy Spirit. If they did, perhaps people would have flocked to Mary the way they flocked to Jesus. It is interesting that in our own time, most Christians flock to Jesus right away. Catholics, believing in the crown of queenship that our Lord bestowed on His handmaid, flock to Mary. Mary is so humble and so pure. She is so close and intimate with Jesus, that she could whisper anything in Jesus’ ear to do something and Jesus would do it, such as at the miracle of the Wedding Feast at Cana. Now, in our day in age, we still ask Mary to whisper into the ear of her dear Son.
I wonder what Mary and Joseph’s relationship was like. It must have been hard for Joseph to live with the Immaculate Conception (Mary) and the Word made flesh (Jesus). But also, what a gift! What was it like to live with perfection? Perhaps we can get a taste of what it was like by quite literally tasting the Body and Blood of Christ at Holy Communion during Mass. I imagine my heart as a house, and Mary starts sweeping up the cobwebs, dusting, and cleaning, to make my house at least somewhat appropriate for Jesus to enter at Communion. In the meantime, I could imagine that St. Joseph is standing at the door to my house. He is protecting it and making sure no evils enter it before Jesus does. Joseph is the protector, after all. This Holy Family has truly adopted me.
Again, Mary was strong. Simeon foretold that a sword would pierce her heart (Luke 2:35). And a sword it pierced! How much strength Mary had from God to witness the passion and death of her Son. The sword did not kill her, but it pierced her with utter anguish and pain. She did not faint at the crucifixion. She stood, but she let herself stay upright by the strength of her adopted son, John.
Apparitions What else was Mary like? God has revealed her to us throughout the centuries. St. Juan Diego saw Our Lady of Guadalupe. Mary said she would wrap Diego in her arms and hold him within her mantle. St. Catherine Laboure saw Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal who said that there are many graces for souls if we only ask for them. St. Bernadette saw Our Lady of Lourdes, the Immaculate Conception. Our Lady said that she could not promise Bernadette happiness in this world, but in the next, and to pray for sinners. Three children saw Our Lady of Fatima. Mary said that we needed to make atonement for sinners so they would not go to hell.
In apparitions like Our Lady of Lourdes, Mary is seen with a Rosary. Mary, then is encouraging and forthright, offering us to join her as she prays
for the redemption of the world.
So, what was Mary Like? Let us pull out the scarce words in this article: Mother. Virgin. Open arms. Strong. Heart. Spirit. Immaculate Heart. Love. Queenship. Perfection. A gift. Handmaid. Humble. Pure. Strength. Witness. Anguish. Pain. Upright. Mantle. Miraculous. Gra
ces. Immaculate Conception. Happiness. Pray. Atonement. Encouragement. Forthright. Offering. Redemption.
Mary was and is like all of that.
All the things that we know from the art of icons, Sacred Scripture, and Marian apparitions, help us see what Mary was like! We can pull apart these words such as “pure” and “redemption,” and meditate on them with Our Lady.
May we become a little more like her.
Read Through Esther’s Eyes on ShopMercy.org to learn more about Mary!