Is St. Mary Perfect? I Hope Not

indexCenturies have held her higher than anyone can imagine.  Catholics made her sinless which is par with her sinless son, which is why the Church made Mary sinless but it’s not easy for me to identify with a “perfect” person.

The rosary is intended to connect us with Ms. Perfect but it hardly reaches those heights.  The repetition only draws us closer to our own imperfects and needy lives but people keep “saying” it.  (Notice you don’t “pray” the rosary, you “say” it, ask any Catholic.)

St. Mary’s titles exceed England’s queen which is quite a feat.  She’s had more appearances than Bob Hope’s opened strip malls.  More churches and places are named after her than Bob Hope dreamed for himself.  Mary’s claim to fame?  Mother.  That simply powerful word that describes both our earth and her womb.  Mother.

In my humble opinion, adjective withstanding, the Catholic Church made her “perfect” because of its all male celibacy club.  As wonderful as male celibacy sounds in its openness and availability, it has also separated us from Mary, woman, Mother of Jesus.  Rumored for years that Mary would be deemed as co-redeemer would separate Christian religions from Catholics even further; Mary doesn’t need to be part of the Trinity.  (I hated geometry but try drawing a triangle with four people!)  Did redemption need two people, after 2,000 years of Church ponderings?

I return to the all male clergy as the culprit and think of TV’s “Bonanza.”  There’s the four of them with an Asian butler (making it actually five) pondering the beauty of women during their closed steak-eating dinners.  (It’s easy to wonder about stuff when no reality is seated around you.)  The four of them, sorry five of them, would elevate and raise up what they wondered about but knew nothing about.

My mother was every feeling melded into one during our growing up years.  We had to stay a step ahead of her to anticipate her next mood or feeling.  It worked.  I became a priest to her liking and she continued her unpredictability.  Years after her death, it finally occurred to me that she lived her life perfectly in her imperfections.  Coming to grips about mom like that can be a leap for any of us.  The relief was amazing and refreshing for me.  I loved her more then than I tried to during her life.  That’s St. Mary to me.  She is not “perfect” but did her mothering perfecting but always in her imperfections.

The day of my employment in my present position happened to be a Mary feast day.  (There’s a lot of them in the Catholic calendar.)  I’ve used that day to remind me of the imperfect work that I do there but always done perfectly.

That’s who I am and I hope that St. Mary is the same.  Really, I don’t need to hope, the Catholic Church is wrong, Mary is not perfect.  She’s my mother.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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One Response to Is St. Mary Perfect? I Hope Not

  1. Mary Delgado says:

    Absolutely from the heart… love mother with all of her perfect imperfections… This is truly a gift. Mary


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