What do you call her?

It was a single meow, but I knew exactly where Vera was and what had happened. She ran into the powder room as I was cleaning and I didn’t realize it before I shut the door. She had finished exploring and was ready to come out. The meow almost sounded like a question, and was almost like, “Mom?” Without saying a word, I released her from her enclosure with a smile on my face. Perhaps it was because of the feast of the Assumption this month, but my action to free her made me think of how Mary intercedes for us.

According to a document I found posted on the Secular Franciscan Order – USA website, Mary has at least 143 titles associated with her. I believe there are probably many more, as my favorite, Our Lady of Czestochowa, and Pope Francis’s favorite, Our Lady Undoer of Knots, were not listed. Many do invoke her assistance, as Helper of All in Danger, Lady of Good Help, and Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces. Those titles remind us that we can ask for her aid whenever we are in need. It is not surprising that we may be in awe of her, as she is known as Immaculate Conception, Mary Queen of Angels, and Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, which can be daunting to ponder. 

Perhaps the most controversial, Theotokos or Mother of God, was not so much about her, but about who Jesus really was. The Council of Ephesus clarified the Church’s teaching about Jesus being both human and divine and through this mystery, we can call Mary by this quite awesome title. For over a hundred years before that council, the question of Jesus’ nature — human or divine, was called into question. Several councils, from 325 through 431 A.D. addressed the unity of Christ’s humanity and divinity from different aspects until the last, which named Mary as Theotokos. But this is what Mary does best: lead us to Jesus. Mary is the Star of the Sea of life as we journey in faith towards our heavenly homeland. She is the Seat of Wisdom waiting to give Good Counsel to those who seek a closer relationship with God. She is the Aqueduct of Grace, pouring out heavenly gifts to those in need. 

Of the 143 titles listed, 19 of them contained the word “Mother.” As the humble Handmaid of the Lord, I believe the title Mary likes most is Mom. She is happy to be the Mother of the Mystical Body and Mother of the Church, which allows all Christians to call her Mom. As we celebrate the solemnity declaring her bodily presence in heaven, let us call out to her, asking her aid in releasing us from whatever enclosure we find ourselves trapped in, or blockage we have encountered in our relationship with Jesus.

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