Today the church celebrates the life and work of probably the most influential saint, St. Mary, God-Bearer and Apostle.
Mary appears in fits and spurts throughout the different Gospels, getting the most ink spilled on her in the Gospel of Luke. This is not surprising, of course, as Luke has a heart for the ministry of women and people on the margins. Mary falls into both categories, Beloved.
Mary is so relatable.
She is a teen mother, pregnant out of wedlock, which put her at odds with societal norms.
She is a revolutionary, singing the Magnificat in the face of world powers destined to conspire against her and her family.
She is an immigrant parent, willing to do what it takes to keep her family alive, fleeing in the night to Egypt when Bethlehem was unsafe.
She is a proud parent, standing with her son through his peaks and valleys of life, urging people to listen to him when they are reluctant.
She is a worried parent, sometimes urging her boy to stay quiet in the face of opposition because she didn’t want to find him dead on the streets.
She is a grieving mother, not turning away even as her son was wrongly put on death row, dying in the hands of fearful power brokers.
While many revere Mary because she was Jesus’ mother, I revere her because she is me. She is my mother. She is the radical I aspire to emulate, and the parent I long to be.
(Artwork by Polish artist and LGBTQ activist in Częstochowa. A radical in the footsteps of Mary, he’s been widely persecuted for this icon.)