An Apostle’s Colloquy with Mary

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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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