Five truths on the Virgin Mary: A mother’s essential role

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a five-part series of columns Father Jeffrey Kirby is writing for the month of October, which is dedicated to Mary and the rosary.

First truth: A mother’s role is essential.
Whenever my mom visits the parish, it’s amazing how much she inquires about my life and how much she inspects the environment: food, cleanliness, people and personalities.
If she wasn’t my mother, her approach might be considered pushy and intrusive. But she’s my mom.
It’s interesting to see how much access and leeway mothers have in the lives of their children. It’s a basic human reality that moms can go where no one else can. They uniquely understand their children. Our moms carried us, brought us into the world, and our lives are always a gift from them.
We shouldn’t be surprised when we see this universal truth played out in the earthly life of Jesus Christ. In the fullness of time, God the Father sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to bring redemption to humanity (Gal 4:4-5).
Jesus didn’t just appear as an adult, or fall from the sky. He was born of a woman, and had a human mother.
The archangel announced to Mary of Nazareth that she was “full of grace,” and was chosen to be the Mother of the long-awaited Messiah. It was Mary who first heard and believed in the glad tidings of the savior’s arrival.
Virginally conceived, Jesus was born surrounded by his mother’s faith and his people’s hope.
After his displacement and birth in Bethlehem and his flight into Egypt, Jesus settled and was raised in Nazareth. He worked with human hands, prayed with human words and loved with a human heart. Under the care and teaching of his mother and foster father, Jesus’ human nature was slowly prepared for his saving mission.
Jesus honored Mary as his mother and showed her the love of a devoted son. With her maternal heart, she held a privileged place in his life and mission. At the wedding feast of Cana, the Lord was hesitant to work a miracle, “My hour has not yet come.” It was Mary who prompted his actions, and with it the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Her instructions to the servants at Cana about Jesus are her last recorded words in the Bible: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5).
At one point in Jesus’ public ministry, someone yells to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked.”
Jesus, however, shows the depth of his love and honor for his mother when he responds, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it” (Lk 11:27-28). As his mother, Mary was especially prepared to be his most adamant follower.
Mary understood who Jesus was and what he was called to do. From the crib to the cross, from Pentecost to her Assumption, Mary loved her Son and faithfully served her savior.

Father Kirby is the parochial vicar at St. Mary Help of Christians Church in Aiken.
To read more, visit his Web site at