You know that feeling you get when you’re with your best friend? The one where you understand each other. You intuit each other.
You could talk for hours, and never run out of things to say.
You go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or peanut butter and chocolate, yummm. Or cookies and milk.
I have a best friend like that.
I think about her all the time. There’s always something I can’t wait to tell her, a question I need her advice on, a prayer request I can count on her to pray for.
Even when we’re apart, she’s never far from my heart.
I hear some people love Mary this way. I’ve always wanted to be close to Mary, but I’ve never felt this natural connection to her.
She’s always been more like that friend I love and admire and would like to be close to, but run into a wall of awkwardness when we sit down to chat.
We share some things in common, but we just don’t seem to be moving on the same plane.
I know that Mary is so far above me – in humility, in virtue, in grace – that sometimes it seems almost impossible that she could understand what I’m going through in my weak and fallen life.
My friendship with Mary is something I long to grow in. Something I’ve been working on for many years.
It doesn’t come naturally to me.
I know it’s important. She is the Mother of God, after all! But turning to Mary is something I have to be conscious about doing in my life.
I pray the Rosary, sure. And sometimes the Angelus. Mary is a role model and an intercessor 100%.
But a friend? I’m working on it. I desire it.
Recently, I’ve come to some insight about how I can grow in love for Mary, by considering some other beloved relationships in my life.
Mary My Mother
Did you know that you can be friends with your mother?
I’ve had my ups and downs in my feelings towards my mom. Teenaged me knew WAY more than she did, if you know what I mean. I was quite a brat sometimes.
And of course, now I see my mom’s never-failing wisdom and guidance for what it truly was.
But through it all, my mom has been unwavering in her love and support of me. And her prayerful intercession for me.
In my adult life, I’ve been overjoyed to have my mom love me not only as her daughter, but as her friend.
I turn to her for motherly advice, but also for the enjoyment of her company, to share experiences, and to challenge each other to be the beautiful women of God we’re called to be.
For the first 8 years of my marriage, I lived right next door to my mom. I grew accustomed to her continued daily presence in my life.
But now, for the past two years, I’ve lived in the next state over, and I miss her immensely.
As I was washing the dishes yesterday, I was imagining my mom by my side like she so often used to be.
She would stop by our apartment and work alongside me, folding the laundry while I scrubbed the pots and pans. Sweeping the floor while I tidied the room.
Her help was a lifesaver for me as a new and busy mom.
But even better than that was the opportunity to chat while we worked together. We were united in purpose and in heart, as we shared our thoughts, our joys, and our struggles.
I missed my mom’s presence greatly in that moment, as I imagined her with me in my mind’s eye.
But then, the image shifted.
Instead of my mom in my midst, I imagined Mary there. She lent a hand with the chores. She picked up a crying kiddo so I could straighten up one last thing.
But best of all, she listened to my stories. She laughed at my jokes. She offered me wisdom and advice.
Just like my own mother would do.
And in that moment, I loved Mary like I’ve never loved her before. I began to see how she can be a mother and friend, like my mom is to me.
It opened a window of opportunity that I want to continue to explore.
Mary, the Mother of the Bridegroom
On the night before my wedding, my soon to be mother-in-law took me aside and, with tears in her eyes, gave me a beautiful gift.
It was a pearl charm – a starter for a family necklace. Pearl for the month of June, in which we were married.
She told me of her great love for her son, and her joy to see him entering into this beautiful union with me – even though I could tell it was breaking her heart to see him leave her side.
Throughout the years, I have experienced unwavering love and support from my mother-in-law.
But it just hit me the other day, how much my mother-in-law can teach me about my relationship with Mary.
Jesus is my Bridegroom.
At the wedding feast at Cana, Mary gave him the push to enter into his earthly ministry. The ministry in which he would proclaim my salvation, and ultimately give his life for me in the most perfect sacrifice of love, through his death on the Cross.
At that wedding feast, Mary put this marriage between me and Christ my Bridegroom into motion.
Jesus had spent the first 30 years of his earthly life by Mary’s side. He was her beloved Son, and I imagine it must have pained her greatly to send him off into the world.
But that pain could not take away her great joy. If my mother-in-law can so selflessly give her son away, can love him fully, and love me immensely because of her love for him…
How much more can Mary give her son to me, with a love for me, his bride, that surpasses any other love I can find on this earth!
And I thought of how many brides who have good, holy, healthy relationships with their mothers-in-law, adopt them in an intimate way, making them another mother, and even calling them “Mom.”
If we can do this with the earthly mother of our earthly spouse, how much more can we do this with Mary the mother of Jesus our Divine Bridegroom!
On the Cross, as Jesus consummated his covenant of love with me, he encouraged me to do just this with his words: “Behold, your mother.”
I see it, now.
And I long to love her more dearly as my friend, my mother, and the mother of my Bridegroom.
How Do You Relate to Mary?
I’d love to hear about your relationship with Mary.
Are you natural best friends? Have you had a moment that inspired you to grow in your love for her? Are you still trying to understand what the big deal about Mary is?
Leave a comment and we can chat about it!
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