We want to provide the Scriptural basis for Our Lady’s many roles, and her entire life is a model of holiness for us. She, in fact, was the very first believer. And even more than that, an Apostle. One who is sent, to come into the world and prepare a place in her womb for the Messiah, whom God sent forth from her womb.
All throughout her life, events happened that parallel the events of our own lives, the many trials we have in following and sharing Jesus with the world. She was first to believe. To prophecy His role to the nations. To announce to men. To comfort and nurture Him, even as we Brides are called to do. To understand the greatness of His role to mankind.
For when she served at the Temple, she learned all the Scriptures about the Messiah and eagerly awaited His coming. Her trip to her cousin Elizabeth was not just out of curiosity. She wanted to be present when this great prodigy was born. For a woman sterile for 50 years had suddenly been blessed with a child, the harbinger of the Messiah whom she carried in her womb.
She knew she would be suspected of adultery and possibly stoned. But she put her trust in God, knowing that nothing could happen to her or the Messiah in her womb. She bore the insults and calumny hurled at her when she returned to Nazareth, and even at the foot of the Cross when the soldiers mocked her for being a poor mother. She witnessed the miracles scattered all through His young life.
The night before He suffered, He washed the Apostle’s feet as a lesson to them that they, too, must go and do likewise; washing the feet of others. He continually used metaphors and examples to illustrate a truth. When He spoke to John from the Cross, I believe that His words had a deeper meaning than what they appeared to be on the surface.
“When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ So from that hour, this disciple took her into his home….” John 19:26-27.
The Lord was again pointing to the role Mary would have when He departed. She instructed Luke and gave him accounts of things that none of the other apostles knew. She was present in the upper room. Her discernment was like none other, because she had lived her entire life with the Son of God. She was given the grace of baptism at conception, so Jesus could inhabit a thoroughly cleansed vessel.
And now she is being appointed the gentle mother of His Church, whom apostles sought out for deeper understanding and insight. And John, who was very special to Jesus, was placed in the unique position of caring for her needs. So many miss the scope of significance that Jesus portrays in the Scriptures by simple parables. This, and the wedding at Cana, are again examples of Jesus making clear to us His mother’s role in the Church.