Consecration Renewal – Day 21

Day 21 of Consecration Preparation from 2008 (or renewal)

From “Mary, Human and Holy” (Antonio Bello)
Chapter 20: True Woman

This has been the most difficult chapter for me so far in terms of its raw honesty. Bishop Bello seeks to understand the relevancy of Mary in the lives of women today, in ways that I too have struggled with over the years. I think it’s very important to think about the kind of questions Bishop Bello raises, both for our own journey with Mary and in order to help bring her to others.

He writes that it disturbs him to think of Mary and then see, “…the tears of Palestinian mothers on television, or the undernourished faces of women in the Amazon, or the subhuman conditions of girls in Bangladesh”, as well as prostitutes on the street, the large numbers of abused women or those who have been deprived of their rights. Bishop Bello says, “I cannot help wondering if Mary’s story has anything to do with these suffering women.” In the case of professional women as well, Bello asks, “…how does the name of Mary affect the lives of women?”

Is Mary only a point of reference for cloistered nuns and pious girls, or does she voice the aspirations of every woman who wants to live femininity to its fullest? Do women look upon Mary with tenderness because her earthly life sums up the sorrowful mysteries of all forms of their suffering? Is she only an eloquent symbol of the joyful mysteries of experiencing an exodus from the “bitter waters” of servitude? Or is she the image that synthesizes the glorious mysteries of woman’s definitive liberation from every type of slavery that, throughout history, has robbed her of dignity?

Holy Mary, true woman…. You who remained standing at the foot of the cross, help all women who feel overwhelmed with every kind of suffering. May they take inspiration from your feminine dignity….

Holy Mary, icon of the feminine world at last established in the Promised Land, help us to read history and interpret life with feminine tenderness and strength. You are the image not only of the new woman but also of the new humanity preserved from the mirages of false liberation.

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6 Responses

  1. 🙂 I recall when my very feminine mother-in-law backed my 30-something husband (always her boy!) into a wall and *asked*, “So, you’re going to a dentist soon?” I would never be able to pull off that strong maternal thing with any of my kids; my way is more Popeye-ish. I think a lot of women identify with Mary on the sorrows level, just as lots of folks come to Christ via His being the Man of Sorrows. I guess only Mary and only Jesus can change that for someone.

  2. Mary was a Mediterranean woman, and Bishop Bello was a Mediterranean man. His view of her is very much incarnated in this reality, I believe.

  3. I think it’s true that we relate more through the sorrows than through the joys or the glorious. It came to me afterwards that what is true for us with Jesus must also be true for us with Mary – St. Teresa of Avila always insisted that our deepest and fastest union with Jesus would come through consistent meditation on His humanity and on his Passion, and so it must also be true that our deepest union with Mary will come through meditation on her human sorrows and her unison with Jesus in His Passion.

    Also, something else that came to mind rather out of the blue when Bishop Bello was wondering how professional women could relate to Mary (and he mentioned actresses, opera singers, models, etc.) was an image of Farrah Fawcett as I had seen her on t.v., as she endured her cancer treatments. After her death and because she had a funeral Mass in a Catholic church I read all sorts of nasty things on Catholic websites (similar to the stuff re Ted Kennedy) and all I could think was, were any of those people privy to Farrah’s confessions; were any of those people privy to her relationship with Mother Mary as she clutched her Rosary to her chest during her radiation treatments, etc. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that image.

  4. Amen.

  5. It’s from what you said above, and other examples of people who surprisingly turn to her or some whom we find out later had a devotion, that I’m thinking those who dare to approach her, may be placed onto a Sovereignly-protected patch. Because of Christ the King, she is spiritual Queen, not of earth but of hearts, and can as Mediatrix of graces (graces I have likely never even thought to ask for) provide in His name a safe portion of the Kingdom. At the least, we are never without the shelter of a holy royal Cloak, if we want that..

  6. And amen to that as well. One of the wonderful thing about graces though, is that we can ask each day for all the graces that Jesus and Mary have available for us personally and desire us to have if only we will ask, and we don’t have to know exactly what they are.

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