Granted, I'm just an old-fashioned cultish Italian Catholic boy, but to me Christianity without ardent and passionate devotion to Mary is frightful.
I see Mary as amazingly being both the Queen of Heaven, and the Mother of the Poor and the Lowly. I see her as completely entwined with her son in the mystery of the Incarnation and our Redemption. I see her as the Queen of Human Liberation.
I think of Mary as belonging so completely to the poor that perhaps in this brutish technological first world more and more eyes are being blinded to her. I see this blindness as perhaps an eschatological sign. I think of those who are granted visions of her, like Juan Diego, an oppressed Mexican Indian seeing the Indian princess among the flowers, or Bernadette Soubirous, a desperately poor teen-aged girl in the Pyrenees who opened up a healing spring for the sick.
I revere Mary as the Mother of the Magnificat, she who boldly announced with her words and with her poverty stricken life "God has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty."
I do not believe that Mary can be adequately comprehended either by over-privileged, over-educated mighty folks, or by misogynist Popes and Bishops.
It strikes me as peculiar when people, whether popes, theologians, or whoever, focus lots of attention on her sex life. Can't the woman have some privacy?
We are all called to be the bearers of God's reign. We are all called to give birth to God's love in this world. How can we not revere the one who did so first and most completely?
I will finish my hopelessly Catholic homage to Mary with the last words ever written by St. Therese of Lisieux: "Mary is less fortunate than we are, as she has no Mary to love."
Carl Siciliano is a companion and friend who works with homeless teens in New York City.