Why Mary? January 5, 2009
Sometimes I get a question from people, like this:
- Why do Collyridians worship Mary, she is just a human.
- Why don’t you just worship Goddess?
- What is wrong with inclusive-language scriptures and liturgies?
My short answer to all of the above:
When we worship the Holy, our faith and devotion must be stronger than mere manipulation of words or intellectual assent to any doctrine. After all, it does little good if all what one is doing is reciting a creed or a prayer that she does not think is “right.” As the epistle of James states, one cannot have a wavering mind when one prays.
While it is certainly valid and correct to pray to a “gender-neutral” deity of an inclusive liturgy, or simply to a non-specific Goddess, there is an element that cannot be neglected: one’s subconscious — the part of us that is beyond the rational mind, but that which belongs to the heart.
For many of us, the iconology of the Virgin Mary has a very powerful imprint on our consciousness. It is no wonder that there are more apparitions of Mary than that of Jesus, Moses, or any saint, and how such apparitions draw thousands and millions of followers with a deep, heart-felt faith. At the very least, for those with an average exposure to the Western culture, the very image and name of Mary evoke something beyond and above the intellectual reasoning, pseudo-religious experimentations, or anything that is on the level that could ever be considered “artificial.”
The authors of Mother-God.com website explain this point more fully:
In Christianity, however, the patriarchal doctrine was carefully sealed. There was no room doctrinally for the Creatrix and officially, the importance of the Blessed Virgin Mary was simply that she was the physical vehicle of Christ’s incarnation.
However, both Her titles and Her iconography told a different story. Despite the official theology, the image of the Supreme Mother was returning to the West.
She was called Mother of God – an extraordinary title which logically implies that She is antecedent to, and the Cause of, any other Divinity.
The ancient titles of the Supreme Creatrix were bestowed on Her – Queen of Heaven; Star of the Sea; Rose of the World. She was pictured “clothed in the Sun” like the Solar Mother, with the moon at her feet. She was depicted crushing the head of the serpent just like Eurynome, the Mother-Creatrix of ancient European religion.
Even theologically, the Divinity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was hard to suppress. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception means that She was conceived without sin. Now, according to Christian doctrine, all humans are conceived in original sin, and only Christ can redeem that sin. But the Blessed Virgin Mary, before the incarnation of Christ, was sinless, unlike any human being, and made the redemption possible.
Within the strict patriarchal economy of Christianity, the Blessed Virgin Mary cannot be recognised as God; but in Her iconography, her titles and Her devotional cultus (none of which have a great deal to do with the biblical and historical Mary), She is clearly God the Mother.
Western devotees of Our Mother God look upon the statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary with love and devotion: easily and naturally recognising Her as Our Lady. The question that then arises is: “Can we, and should we, take these beautiful images back? Or, since they are made within a patriarchal tradition that denies Her Divinity, would that be wrong?”
When we adore and devote ourselves to Mary, we are not merely speaking of a certain Jewish woman who lived at the turn of the first century, but of the Lady of All Things that is revealed through the icons and mythos of the Virgin Mary.
Likewise, as Collyridians we continue in the sacramental traditions of the Church through which many of the ancient worship of the Lady was preserved even as it was thoroughly theologized and reconstructed away in the centuries of patriarchal Christianity. This is also the reason why we find values in preserving many traditional practices of the Church, including the seven sacraments and the apostolic succession; we believe that they, like the icons of Mary, are symbolic and mystical vehicles through which the tradion is carried to this age.