God the Father
From the beginning, God the Father entrusted his Son to Mary.
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, you who enjoy God’s favour! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Look! You are to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.'” (Lk 1:26-32, NJB)
When he was twelve years old, well after the age of reason began for him, Jesus confirmed this entrustment by continuing to live in obedience to Mary and Joseph.
“He went down with them then and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority. His mother stored up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and with people.” (Lk 2:51-52, NJB)
As part of his last will and testament, Jesus also entrusted his disciples to her.
“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son.’ Then to the disciple he said, ‘This is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” (Jn 19:25-27, NJB)
In the gospel, when Jesus speaks to or about someone, he is not necessarily speaking to or about that person alone. Oftentimes he is addressing or referring to all his followers. For example, at the Last Supper, when he broke the bread and said, “Take and eat; this is my body” (Mt 26:26, NIV), he was not giving the instruction only to the twelve apostles gathered together in the upper room. When he commanded, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22:39, NIV), by “neighbor” he meant much more than the person living next door.
In the pronouncement, “Woman, this is your son”, “this” beloved disciple represented all whom Mary would be invited to look after as son or daughter. Similarly, “This is your mother,” was an injunction for all to take Mary as mother.
How do we go about taking Mary as our mother?
The following passage suggests the way.
“Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.’
He replied, ‘My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.'” (Lk 8:19-21, NIV)
That is, we become Jesus’ brothers and sisters by listening to God’s word and carrying it out; and with Jesus as brother, his Mother is our mother too.
Entrustment to Mary is not done simply by uttering some formula. We must live and act according to what God says.
And what does he say? In the gospel, he speaks from the mountain of Transfiguration, directing us to Jesus: “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” (Lk 9:35, RSV)
Mary’s statement at Cana completes the command: “Do whatever he tells you.” (Jn 2:5, NIV)
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible uses the same word: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Lk 8:21, RSV)
Entrustment to Mary was not an invention by some pious and sentimental soul. It was commanded by Jesus. He chose the most dramatic moment before his death on the cross to proclaim this integral part of God’s plan. He wanted all to come to Mary as her children; he wanted all to turn to her for guidance and protection; he wanted all to honour her, to cherish her, and to love her.
“This is your mother.” What did the disciple do when he heard Jesus say this? “And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” If you hear Jesus saying to you today, “This is your mother,” we hope that you, too, like a true and beloved disciple, will, from that hour, welcome her into your home, and into your heart.
Act of Consecration to Mary
Mother Mary, since Jesus from the cross gave you to me, I take you as my mother. And since Jesus gave me to you, please take me as your child. All that I am and have and do, I entrust entirely to your care.
I make this act of consecration with full knowledge and understanding that it entails commitment to a way of life, a way of life like that of Jesus at Nazareth, a way of life which he commands in the gospel. It is when your children become firmly dedicated to this life, it is when enough of your sons and daughters respond wholeheartedly to your call, it is when they listen to Jesus and do what he says, it is then that your Immaculate Heart will triumph, and an era of peace will begin to reign throughout the whole of Creation.