Sitting in Mass here in Denver last Wednesday, wearing a Notre Dame sweatshirt (I was uncertain that Nancy and Lynsey would see me if I didn’t wear something appropriately blue and gold in our first Feast Day Mass together for Ladies of Our Lady), Monsignor McDaid’s statement disarmed me completely. How many times I have been given a ribbing by some of my Protestant friends who just are completely confused by the amount of reverence we give to Mary as the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church. There are even some Catholics I know that find the whole situation superstitious and liken the reverence of Mary to the Pagan worship of the mother, or mother earth. Yet, the Feast of the Assumption is actually one of the oldest Christian Feasts. In fact, many Protestant missals name the 15th of August as Mary’s day.
Having attended Notre Dame though, many of us take for granted the Lady on the Dome. As a dear friend of mine commented though, “what an audacious statement!” What an incredible affirmation of the Catholic reverence for Mary. Are we ever embarrassed by the fact that we have a 19 foot 4,000 pound statue of Mary as the Immaculate Conception on the Administration building? It seems not based on the vast quantity of pictures graduates, students, faculty and visitors take every year of Our Lady overlooking the school that is named for her.
What is our relationship with Mary like in our day-to-day lives though? Do we have a Dome in our everyday life that we look up to and take the time to offer moments that she can use to help her Son with our salvation? Do people who know us know that we are proud of having her as a role model of devotion? What is the conversation would we like to have with Christ regarding his Mother? That we have taken her into our home, our hearts…that we have a relationship with her that completes our prayer life?
Hyperdulia is the official Latin term for the reverence we give Mary. The title Mother of God is almost as old as Christianity itself. We have so many lessons we can learn from her. Why else would the Fathers of the Church include her in our creed? Be audacious in your reverence of our Lady – she always guides us to her Son.
I look forward to solidarity in Mass on September 8 – the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady. For those who want to gather twice next month, Our Lady of Sorrows is on September 15.