We begin this and every New Year dedicated to Mary. January 1 is the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. The saints remind us that all God’s gifts and graces come from Him, but “pass through her fingers.” I don’t remember where I got this story from but it tells us about Mary and her role in your salvation.
As Jesus was walking around His heaven He came upon a very nasty person who should really not have been there. He was deserving of eternal damnation. Jesus went out to the front gates to have a word with Saint Peter. St. Peter responded, “Lord, when the unworthy come here to the gates of heaven I chase them away and tell them to go. They are not worthy to enter heaven. But the ones who know your mother go around to the back entrance of heaven and knock softly. ..and your mother sneaks them in!” Jesus smiled and apologized to Peter, thinking how a mother can never forget even one of her most troublesome children.
If you think this is just a made-up story have a look at the picture below. Mary is often portrayed in medieval art with a large cape for her children. The medieval artists often painted our Blessed Mother with a large cloak. The suggestion was that we, her children, could get under it for her protection. If need be, she could be our back door into heaven. Some have even suggested that, with that cloak, Mary would smuggle her unworthy child into heaven. It was the great Saint John Vianney who said Mary would “only allow herself to rest after all her children had been saved.”
There is no woman in history who hold more titles: Our Lady of Hope, Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Mercy, Mother of God, Pillar of Ivory, Ark of the Covenant, and on and on through history. She has been painted by Botticelli, Rembrandt, and countless artists through history. Although she probably could not read and write, she has had books written about her and universities named after her. She is called the most celebrated woman who ever lived. St. Bernard said of her: “she is what we were supposed to have been.” Wordsworth said she is “the proudest and noblest creation of nature.”
And so let us begin this New Year under the mantle of her cloak and her protection. We may one day need it.
– Fr. Gerard Gordon