An Apostle’s Colloquy with Mary

icon of Mary with her hand in posture of invitation - leoaleks/iStock/Getty Images

Imagine one of the Apostles sharing part of his story.

I’ve always liked to go to Jesus’ mother for conversation. People sometimes ask me why I speak to Mary instead of starting with Jesus. I ask them if they have ever asked someone to pray for them or with them. They aways tell me they have, so I tell them how Mary has helped me sort out my thoughts before talking with Jesus and how her joining me in going to Jesus strengthens my conversation with him.

For example, I went to her some time ago, in the twilight, as she was mending a cloak for one of the Apostles. I approached her with confidence and asked, “Mary, can I talk with you?”

She smiled, and her needle paused as she looked directly into my troubled face. “Of course! Tell me what’s on your mind,” she said with eyes full of motherly attention.

“I have a problem, and I’m not sure how to put it into words,” I admitted frankly, taking a seat beside her on the ground. Mary set aside her needlework and placed her hands in her lap.

“I noticed how you tend to stay a step behind the others,” she said gently. “You seem to be unsure of yourself.”

“You’re right,” I said after a moment. I rubbed my neck, aware of tension in my back. “Why did Jesus choose me to be an Apostle? I’m not like the others.”

“You feel different from them,” Mary paraphrased. “You have unique talents and background. Perhaps a better question is, What is it about you that drew Jesus to invite you to follow closely?

I thought about that for a moment. Sitting with Jesus’ mother was comforting. Mary waited. At last I realized what I wanted to take to Jesus. “I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m jealous of the intimacy the others seem to have with Jesus.”

Mary looked at me with compassion and asked, “What’s it feel like to hear yourself say that out loud?” She reached out her hand and tucked some of my stray hairs behind my ear. Her touch was gentle, and I felt her love emanating from that touch.

“As I say that to you, Mary, it seems clearer in my mind,” I said. “What I really desire is to be close to Jesus and to be worthy of following him. When I look at myself, I see my limitations and past failures to love. I hear a contrary voice that accuses me of not being good enough.”

Mary took my hand in her own. “It is safe to say these things to Jesus.”

My body relaxed. This conversation clarified my thoughts. Mary continued, “I know that sometimes when I talk things out with a friend, I come to a deeper understanding of myself.” After a pause, she added, “Do you think you are ready to approach Jesus now?”

I pursed my lips and didn’t reply. Mary prodded. “I know my son is very interested in your feelings. Would you like me to go with you?”

“Oh, yes! Please. It will be easier for me to find the words now that you and I have talked it out.”

She stood, tucked my arm under hers, and said, “Let’s not delay this conversation any longer. Let me take you close to my son. He always makes time for me.”

I allowed myself to be led. I enjoyed the comfort of Mary’s confident hands, which held on to my arm while she pulled me forward. With Mary at my side, my conversation with Jesus made more sense.

And that’s why I still speak to Mary, even though she is no longer with us, and I minister to a wider community. Jesus is Lord of the living and the dead.

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Loretta Pehanich is a Catholic freelance writer and the author of 2022: A Book of Grace-Filled Days, Women in Conversation: Stand Up!, and Fleeting Moments: Praying When You Are Too Busy. A spiritual director since 2012, Loretta is trained in giving the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Her involvement in ministry and parish life includes 20 years in small faith-sharing groups and Christian Life Community. Loretta gives retreats and presentations on prayer and women’s spirituality and is commissioned as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. She and her husband Steve have four children and 10 grandchildren.

16 COMMENTS

  1. As a mother, I’ve known that Mary best knew Jesus’ humanity, she changed his diaper, taught him to walk. So I have always seen her as a guide, a model for loving motherhood, even in her suffering. However, your story is inspiring: to rely on Mary as an intimate to the holy Jesus, to lead me closer to him. Thank you.

  2. I loved reading this story. It reminded me of my Dad who strongly encouraged me to go to Mary first : “What you ask of Mary you will surely receive. Jesus refuses His Mother nothing!”

  3. Wonderful!
    And I think you might like the poem I wrote to Mary.
    Here it is.

    THE ATTENDANT STAR
    At the kitchen window, watching the sky,
    darkening now, with night drawing nigh,,
    I saw two stars – one large, twinkling, bright,
    and a smaller one, sitting below, just in sight,
    like a guardian, I thought – an attendant star…

    In this earthly world of ours,
    there are so many attendant stars:

    A child, cheering a sad mother;
    A friend, companion, in step with another;
    A neighbour, checking the neighbour next door.
    “Need anything? That’s what I’m here for.”
    A mother, comforting a crying child;
    Water, reviving one in the wild;
    A brother, ‘he ain’t heavy’, there to help;
    a guide dog saves his blind owner – yelp!

    And Mary, the mother, comforter, friend,
    brave, near the Cross, for her Son’s mortal end.
    To Mary – the accolade: she’s, by far,
    the greatest, brightest Attendant Star.

  4. Thank you for this lovely perspective on how speaking with Mary allows us to become closer to Jesus. Our relationship with Mary can help quiet our anxieties and fears by her comfort and guidance as we seek to become closer to Jesus

  5. What a lovely and encouraging talk. It really GIVES me incentive to go to Mary first. I think I’m missing out in good council and advice. I shall begin to go to Mother Mary first!! Thank you!

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