Our Lady of Knock: The Power of Mary’s Silence

In my room growing up, above my bed, I had a shelf filled with books written by my favorite authors. Surrounding them were religious pictures that I’d received or bought over the years. There was a crucifix from my mom at the top, a famous picture of JPII, an image of Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son, a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe from the shrine in Mexico, a picture of the veil of Veronica, and the biggest is an image of the Divine Mercy in the center. This was the one that is closest to my bed. 

One morning, years ago, I decided to pray sitting on my bed with my back against the wall, facing the windows above where my twin brother used to sleep. On this morning I decided to pray the rosary: the glorious mysteries. What hit me the most was the last glorious mystery of the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In all honesty, this used to be the one I was most confused about. I think many Catholics are not too sure exactly what Mary’s Coronation is beside the fact that she is crowned as queen. But what exactly does that mean for us here on earth? 

Like all questions about Mary, I look to my own mom for the answer. I focused on my childhood years. Because of all the boys in the house we had many fights growing up. I remember one particularly nasty one between my twin brother and I. I don’t remember what exactly it was about, but I know it involved a brawl in the backyard. Mom was in the kitchen cooking and she was at the window overlooking the backyard. 

She called us in and ordered me up to my room and Mike to the basement (she couldn’t tell us just to go to our rooms because we shared one). She didn’t tell us how long we’d be there or say anything else. She just told us where to go, giving no other details. 

After a period of time that felt like hours, but was probably about ten minutes, mom ended up calling both of our names: Thomas, Michael! In my house growing up that meant that you went running to mom right away. You don’t ask, “What?” or “I’m in my room…”, you simply get up and go to her. This is a fact for one reason: if mom is calling us and she is in desperate need and we don’t go then we are letting her down. Maybe there’s a fire that started in the kitchen or maybe she is carrying a load of laundry down the stairs and she fell. Whatever it might be she could need help and if she’s calling us, she is counting on us to be there for her. 

So we both left our designated punishment areas and arrived together in the kitchen where mom was preparing dinner. As we entered she did not look at us; Mike and I did not look at one another. There was an awkward pause that formed into a silent minute or two. In that silence Mike and I eventually met eyes and looked at one another, then one of us mustered up the first word and said, “I’m sorry man.” The other said the same thing, mom looked at us, and told us to get out of there. She made us realize how ridiculous we were both acting by not saying a word; in the silence she pointed us to what was true. 

That is the role of Mary as Queen and intercessor. She sits at the side of her son and brings to him every need that we ask her to help us with. Every time we call out to Mary with our prayers and needs she turns to her son and says, “Jesus,” just like my mom would do to me and my brothers. And Jesus like any good son must run to his mother’s side and do whatever she asks of him. That is the role of Mary and that is why she is powerful. 

         In Knock, Ireland the Mother of God appeared in a simple but profound way. It was August of 1979 when she appeared to 15 people on the wall of a parish Church in Knock. Mary appeared along with St. Joseph, St. John, and a lamb. Mary stood in front of an altar, which the lamb was on, with her hands folded as if she was praying. The apparition lasted two hours and Mary never spoke a word. She simply stood there in front of the altar and the lamb with her hands folded. This apparition points to who Mary is and what her role is more than anything else in Scripture and maybe any other apparition.

In her silence she said so much. Like any child knows, a mother’s silence is powerful and can give a message that no words can. Mary does not say a word because our focus is not meant to be on her, the focus is meant to be on what is behind her: the lamb and the altar. Mary’s whole life and mission is to bring us closer to her son. Mary knows like any good mother that in her silence she tells us everything. No matter what our family is like, what country we are from, or what culture we are brought up in, Mary speaks to all of us by saying nothing. 

Mary speaks to all of us by saying nothing.

Mary’s yes brings Jesus into the world, and he is the source of all mercy. Therefore, mercy and Mary have a unique and intense connection. It is only when we are silent like Mary that we place ourselves in the perfect position to receive all that her Son desires to give us. It is then that we are exposed to accepting his mercy and love in a way that will forever change us.

She tells us to always, always focus on her Son and all he has to offer us. Primarily, this is mercy, life, hope, and forgiveness. And the fount that all of these things flow from is the Cross, and for us today this mystery continues at each and every Mass across the world. Mary’s silence points us to her Son, to the fact that he is with us, and that he is not going anywhere.

So, spend time with Mary today, ask for her prayers. Be silent with her and watch as she brings you to her Son, the source of mercy. This is her mission: to aid us in seeing just how close her Son is to all of us. Like any good mother, she desires to help her children accomplish what is most important, and that is having us realize that nothing will separate us from her Son.

Image: Deposit Photos.

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