Many cherish belief that Mary is a privileged way of coming to Jesus.  That belief is expressed in the old saying: To Jesus through Mary.  We are encourage to approach Jesus through his mother. A variation of that would be to say God in the person of Jesus becomes transparent through Mary.

Mary is one of the most powerful of Christian symbols.  Symbols give life to our beliefs.  A symbol is a sign, but a distinctive kind of sign.  Symbols are pregnant with meaning that is evoked rather than explicitly stated.  Symbols work mysteriously on our consciousness so    as to suggest more than they can clearly describe or define. God often revealed himself through symbols: the burning bush seen by Moses, the brazen serpent in the desert, the kingdom of God in the preaching of Jesus, the cross, the empty tomb, and Mary.

Mary is a remarkable symbol.  It is because Mary is a real person that she is so significant   as a symbol.  What Mary reveals is conveyed not so much in words as symbolically.  After all we have few words of Mary.

Pope Paul VI in his encyclical on Mary (Cultus Marialis) says Mary is the first and most perfect of Christ’s disciples, the first and most perfect Christian.  What Mary symbolizes is perfect discipleship and perfect Christianity.

Viewed from a human perspective Christianity is the human being’s response in faith by which God’s gift of grace is freely accepted.  Perfect Christianity is responding to that gift as fully, as perfectly as possible.  Perfect Christianity is the purest and most complete acceptance of the salvation won by Jesus Christ.

In view of that understanding we have to recognize Mary as the perfect Christian.  If Christianity means receiving God fully and completely into one’s life, not just in the abstract realm of thought but in an actual historical context, in his incarnate word, clearly divine motherhood is the most perfect instance of Christianity.  Mary then is the prototype, the perfect model for anyone wanting to be a Christian.

The reason is clear. With all the faith of her spirit and physically in her blessed womb, in body and soul, Mary received that gift as fully as possible.  Mary is the expression of what redemption  in its most perfect form actually means.  That is why we venerate Mary and why she is the perfect model .

The amazing thing is that Mary is one of us.  She is only human but she symbolizes the glory to which God invites us.