I actually just finished a fantastic book about Mary by Scott Hahn called Hail, Holy Queen. It really opened my eyes to who Mary is to us, as Catholics.
For those outside the church, and for recent converts like me, the role of Mary just isn't explained as clearly as it should be. Last night, after I finished that book, which I plan to read again because it was SO amazing, I almost came on CM and created a thread about Mary, so I am so glad you did!
I was absoultely blown away after reading that book and getting a better picture of who Mary is, why she is so important, and how Catholics differ from Protestants in their view of Mary.
It is really the first time I have ever fully realized that Mary is OUR MOTHER. I felt like screaming for joy! It just never really fully "sunk in"!!!! Cathoilcs (oh yeah, I am one now) always struck me as a bit stoic, maybe even austere? And I actually LIKE that. But the Catholic understanding of Mary just makes the entire Gospel make sense.
How incredibly lucky are we that Mary is our mother, too! I mean, talk about hitting the jackpot!!!!! Some of us had human mothers that were, oh, just a tad neurotic. So, to realize that God has adopted us into His family, and we have the most perfect mother in the history of the world???? I slept with my rosary last night because now I finally get it. I thought all those Hail Mary's were some formality! Far, far from it.
What I am NOT understanding, though, is that, if this makes sense to me, and I am blown away by the realization that we have such a perfect Mother, why on earth, when I have tried just about every single Christian denomination and many other non-Christian religions, why has no one but the Catholic Church explained my family, OUR family???? They never mention Mary. I was Episcopal for years, and heard Mary mentioned at Christmas, as if she is relegated to some corner of the Christian world....
Excellent post, Celia!