We have had several requests to include Mary the mother of Jesus as a Days of Deepening Friendship topic. So we have decided to make May of 2014 Mary’s month here on DDF.
Where to begin? We can talk about Mary as found in Scripture; we can discuss Mary in art and iconography, in film and literature. We can touch upon what Mary has meant in cultures around the world, about her role at shrines such as Lourdes and Fatima. We can spend some time with Marian prayers and devotions.
It’s probably best not to aim for too much in one month. If the response is enthusiastic, then we will devote time to Mary again—perhaps that will be a recurring theme every May.
For now, I’d like to learn what Mary means to our DDF community. My early religious background did not include Mary except at Christmas, because she was so central to the Nativity story. We did not think much about saints and certainly did not include them in our prayer life. Also, Mary’s primary image is that of mother, and I was unable to have children of my own. So my relationship to Mary has not been strong—I’m not sure how to relate to her, frankly. I do include the communion of saints more in my life now, and that includes Mary. And I believe that Mary’s identity is much more robust than how we have seen her traditionally—as meek and mild and passively allowing God to work in her life. I am more interested in Mary now because I see her as quite strong and independent and courageous.
So, to begin, please ponder these questions:
- What is your favorite title for Mary?
- Do you include her in your prayer, and if so, how?
- Does Mary help you relate to Jesus or to God the Father?
- Is there a particular cultural vision of Mary that is meaningful to you, such as Our Lady of Guadalupe?
- What do you think Mary means for women and their roles in family, church, and the larger community?