The Most Influential Mother in the World
There is nothing new about devoting prayer to The Virgin Mary and requesting her intercession with The All Mighty. In the Bible, the first such instance took place during the wedding of Cana, when the Holy Mother told Jesus that the wedding host had run out of wine. As we all remember, Jesus then turned the water to wine and the precedent was established. Most of those who have grown up Catholic have prayed to our Lord, and often to various saints for intercession. Those of different faiths do not always understand this concept. When we ask the saints to pray for us, we are asking the saints to “put in a good word” for us with God in Heaven. They are not the focus of our worship, God is. Many saints are patrons of more than one occupation or cause, such as St. Joseph, who besides being a Universal Patron of the Church, is the patron saint of fathers, carpenters and social justice. Our prayers to saints take these patrons into account, for example, we pray to St. Anthony for lost items, St. Christopher for safe travels and to St. Jude for lost causes.
Without question, the Saint most often prayed to is The Blessed Virgin Mary, who as a patron saint, has been given quite a few names, including many names for places that she has appeared, for example, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Lourdes, and Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is our patroness of any good humanity. Many occupations and activities are associated with her protection. The list is extensive – from airplane crews to upholsterers, the Holy Mother is the recipient of prayers for intercession from hundreds of millions of devout followers each day. Mary is everywhere. On December 28, the 40th anniversary of the Hail Mary football pass will take place (by Roger Staubach of the Cowboys). This serves to illustrate how in these days of political correctness, religious strife, political indecisiveness and global warming, there remains a singular figure that every person can look towards with positive reflections. Whether rich or poor, young or old, our faith in the goodness of God is exemplified by our devotion to Mary as the intercessor. She is the conduit of mortal man to The All Mighty and it is in that role that Mary remains the most influential woman in the world.
In November of this year, The National Geographic Magazine selected the Blessed Virgin as the “Most Powerful Woman in the World”. The magazine article recounts the recent increase in miracles attributed to Mary’s intercession. Her reported appearances and visions experienced by very poor children living in remote or conflict-wracked areas, have intensified her mystery and aura. She is the spiritual confidante of billions of people, no matter how isolated or forgotten. We find that today there is an even greater presence in the physical cures attributed to The Virgin Mary’s intercession. Mary draws millions each year to shrines such as Fátima, in Portugal, and Knock, in Ireland. Lourdes, the Virgin’s most famous pilgrimage site, at the foot of the Pyrenees in southwestern France, has had 69 miraculous cures officially recognized by church authorities.
The images of art, architecture, liturgy and music inspired by, or devoted to Mary are countless. Images that are that most come swiftly to mind include Michelangelo’s “Pietà,” Notre Dame Cathedral and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Scripture provides only clues to much of Mary’s life, therefore we interpret and project our ideals to her sacred identity. Through this, millions of people each day are comforted. The ability of Our Lady to touch and continually influence the lives of such vast numbers of people alone is miraculous.
As Italian Americans we revere our mothers and second only to the women who gave us birth is the Mother of God. We pray to her, ask her help to give us strength and see in her image in all that is good in life. Her influence is timeless and will remain so for eternity.