I am by no means a theologian, so when I write things like this they come across I think as slightly disjointed. But not everyone is, or can be, a theologian. And while theology is a great thing, sometimes faith comes through in simple things. For me, it is in that simplicity that I find my greatest understanding of the role of the Blessed Mother. The way I understand her role most is through the wedding at Cana.
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. And they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the feast had all been used, and the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said, ‘Woman, what do you want from me? My hour has not come yet.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ [John 2:1-5]
The first thing she does is bring the problem before Jesus. They have no wine. Even thinking about a modern wedding one can see how embarrassing that would be for the hosts and the newlyweds (I’m not sure who would be the host at a Jewish wedding). The hostess in me is horrified by the very thought of not being able to provide for one’s guests appropriately. Mary only says a few words, but that is all she needs. She doesn’t press the issue, or even ask Him to do anything. I find it such a wonderful illustration of her intercession for us. When she hears our petitions, she brings them before her son. She joins us in our troubles and shares in our petition.
The second thing she does is to tell the servants to do as Jesus instructs them. Do whatever he tells you. Having given Him their petition, she simply tells them to do as He says. Her whole interaction here has been to point the servants to Jesus. She leads them to Him. This is also beautifully illustrated in one of my favourite depictions of the Blessed Mother. Hodegetria – She who shows the Way. My old parish had an icon of the Black Madonna of Czetochowska in the shrine to Our Lady and it always captivated me. It is such a simple gesture, Mary’s hand pointing towards the infant Jesus, but it speaks volumes. She doesn’t draw attention to herself, she draws it to her son. She shows the way to Him. And not only does she show the way, she reminds us to follow Him. She reminds us that He can help us, and to trust in Him.
Even when the problem seems impossible, nothing is impossible to Christ.
Hodegetria – She who shows the Way
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.