Up Front and Personal

Mary: A Model for Young Adults

by Paul Morisi

A lot of my work leads me to interact with other urban young adult Catholics in the metropolitan area. This unique group has a common bond insomuch that we are all at different points in our “adultness,” not only within the Church but also within the society in which we reside. Some of us are in school, or going back to school; others are reaching for that next big promotion, while others are looking to just make ends meet. One thing remains the same: our bond through the Catholic faith. As I reflected on my relationship with the Church more, I found myself coming to Mary, the mother of Christ, the first evangelizer.

How does Our Lady, a first-century Jew from Palestine, relate to 21st-century American young people? In more ways than you might think.

When I think of my heroes in the faith, Mary ranks high. She was not a great theologian. She did not have an advanced degree from a prestigious institution. She did, however, have an open heart to God’s call, making her “fiat” one of the most important occurrences in the history of our Church and ultimately the world. Many of the faithful share her approach to faith. God calls us all through our baptism to put our talents and gifts to good use and build our community up. Mary used her God-given gifts to bring Jesus into the world and raise Him.

There are no exact dates when many of the happenings in the Bible occurred, but I think it is safe to assume that Mary was a young woman when the angel Gabriel came to her. This must have come as quite the shock to someone who had never “known” a man. Many times, in our own lives, God throws us a curveball. He puts us in positions we had never imagined ourselves being in. And, in a lot of ways, it shows how much He loves and trusts us.

The Wedding at Cana is one of my favorite Scripture pieces. We get a small glimpse into the relationship Jesus had with His mother. His willingness to adhere to her wishes allows us to look to her for intercession. As we grow closer to Mary through prayer, we are able to intercede to Christ through her. But, more importantly, Mary commands the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” These are powerful words. We as young Catholics need to be more open to the work God has called us to do.

There are many times when we are faced with adversity, when we experience a personal loss. Arguably, Mary had to suffer the worst kind of loss, that of a child. Seeing her Son hang on a cross must have been a terrifying and emotional occurrence to say the least. However, her faith prevailed. Her obedience to the will of the Father is one that we should try to emulate. How can we as young Catholics let go and let God come into our lives?

My hope is that young Catholics not only look to Mary as a spiritual mother but also a mother who is active in our lives today. She remains a model of good Christian living, even after 2,000 years.[hr]Paul Morisi is the coordinator of adolescent and young adult faith formation in the diocese’s Office of Faith Formation.

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