A Baptist friend of mine asked me, "What's this thing you Catholics have for the Virgin Mary?"
Immediately, I replied, "Don't mess around with Mary. She's the real deal for me."
Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, is the Queen of Heaven and all saints, the original Madonna, and a very special celebration. She's the one I pray to for help and intercession. She's there, she's ready to give comfort, strength, and hope to anyone who asks.
Today's Feast of the Annunciation celebrates the Archangel Gabriel's visit to the young Vigin Mary in Nazareth. "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you," he said. With the Holy Spirit, Mary conceived her son and marked the beginning of redemption.
"The fruit of thy womb, Jesus..."
Mary was there at the foot of the cross with Christ. She did not die, but was gloriously assumed into heaven. In 1918, Pope Benedict XV wrote she "redeemed the human race together with Christ."
A symbol of compassion, peace, and motherhood, Mary appeared to St. Bernadette at Lourdes (1858) and children in Fatima (1917). She visited Guadalupe (1531) and La Salette (1846). Her recent apparitions in the remote village of Medjugorje (1981) keep her spirit alive.
"Mary never goes away," explained writer Therese J. Borchard in I Like Being Catholic. "She transcends time, speaks all languages, and knows all cultures."
Blessed art thou among women...