Author: Kaitlin Scirri
Another year is here! We began our new liturgical year with the start of Advent, and now we begin our new calendar year. And what better way to start a new year than by celebrating our Blessed Mother? January 1, New Year’s Day, is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, when we honor Mary, whose faithful FIAT, or “Yes!” made her the Mother of God the Son. But why do Catholics call Mary our Mother and other titles like Our Lady?
When Catholics refer to Mary, we typically call her the Blessed Mother or Our Lady under titles such as Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and Our Lady of Fatima. But why do we do that? Why not just call her Mary? This blog will highlight and explain two common references to Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
The titles Mother and Lady are two titles of great honor. The title Lady does not simply refer to someone female but has long been a title of honor, privilege, and respect. “The Lady of the House” doesn’t refer to any woman living in a house but to the woman who oversees the house, a woman of authority to whom respect is due. So Catholics think of Mary as the Lady of the House or our Church.
Catholics call Mary our Mother because Jesus gave her to us to be our Mother. In John 19:27, Jesus gave His Mother to the beloved disciple:
“Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your Mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.”
In doing this, Jesus made Mary the Mother of all of Jesus’ beloved disciples, including believers today! The title Blessed also comes from scripture. In Luke 1:42, Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth. Upon hearing Mary’s voice, Elizabeth’s child (John the Baptist) leaped inside Elizabeth’s womb. Elizabeth responsed:
“Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
Elizabeth goes on to say in verse 45:
“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
While proclaiming glory to God, Mary states:
“…from now on will all ages call me blessed.” (Luke 1:48).
Mary was especially blessed by God, full of grace, and preserved from original sin. It was her faithful “yes” to God’s plan of salvation that allowed us to receive our Savior. She continues to intercede on our behalf as our Blessed Mother and Our Lady today.
Also worth clarifying is that Catholics do not pray to Mary the same way we pray to God and do not worship her. Worship is reserved for God alone. When we pray to Mary, for example with a Hail Mary, we are really asking Mary to pray for us, the same way you might ask a friend or loved one to pray for you when you need prayer. The center of the Hail Mary prayer is Jesus. No human was ever closer to Jesus than Mary, His Mother. And we believe she is with Him now in Heaven. So her prayers must be pretty powerful! Wouldn’t you want her praying for you? I certainly do!
When Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to St. Juan Diego, she even referred to herself as our Mother and referenced her protection and intercession on our behalf:
“Am I not here, I, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more? Let nothing else worry you, disturb you.” (Xavier.edu)
Our Lady loves us as her children, always interceding for us. She is always a guiding light, finding us when lost in a storm, never for her glory, but to lead us home to her Son. The best way to honor our Blessed Mother is to love her Son, Jesus. One way to grow closer to Jesus is to honor His Mother – Our Mother, Our Lady.
“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.” – St. Maximilian Kolbe
Ways to Grow Closer to Our Blessed Mother In This New Year:
See Catechism of the Catholic Church 495 to learn more about Mary’s Divine Motherhood
Read more about Mary as Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church beginning with Catechism of the Catholic Church 963