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Every Woman Is Mary

By Victor Ch en dekemen Yaku bu

Every woman loves to support the growth of her baby. In this


article, Rev. Yakubu argues that every woman is like Mary the
mother of Jesus. He supports his view from the example of Mary
who cooperated in fulfilling the plan of God. If every woman does
her duty as a woman and truly finds joy in raising happy children
without breaking this divine ordinance, she too has unwittingly
undertaken the kind of activity Mary consented. He concludes that
‘every woman is Mary’ for respectfully obeying the Will of God in
bringing forth life and nurturing it. But much more than that,
developing the necessary shocks to bear with the vagaries of familial
life down through the years as a taste of womanhood makes the
woman a force to reckon with in the life of the world.
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Every Woman Is Mary

By Vict or Chende kemen Yakubu

My experience of be ing Cat holic is that many non-Catholics te nd t o v iew


Catholic pract ices as a nti-biblica l. A lthough all Christia ns acce pt Ma ry as
mothe r of Jesus , the re’s unique ness attached to Catholic respe ct for Mary
which othe r Christ ians do not have. The re is something in me that convinces
me that Mary is more tha n being the mot her of Jesus. We are often accused of
worshipping Mary , a point m any Catholics struggle t o defend as honouring
Mary. I conce rn myse lf w ith seeing beyond that which ordina ry minds see and
imbibe divine assistance t o unde rstand what Mary has offe red t he world. The
bible itse lf is full of pra ise for w hat Ma ry did.

So ma ny times I have had to a rgue why t he Blessed Virgin Ma ry is im portant t o


me and t o the life of the C hurch. Howe ver several t imes my explanat ions on
Mary truly ende d on dea d ends. But that should not be a great problem. Where
the problem rea lly lies is in the fact t hat the Catholic Church over the cent uries
recog nize d a great fa ct in t he bible and stuck by it. And now Mary has been
accepte d as a symbol deserv ing honour.

Anyhow , there ’s something that tells me that every woman is Mary. I do not
intend to la bel every woma n as Ma ry, but the tre nd of activ ities surrounding
the mothe r of Jesus is re plicate d in the life of eve ry woma n. I do not wa it too
long to inform my non-Catholic friends that there a re lessons from Mary’s life
which have shape d Catholic the ology and which every wom an ca n lea rn from
her adora ble persona lity. This reality is my strong conv iction that the Church,
of course the Cat holic Church, has not made a m istake in the case of Maria n
devotion.

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Like every woman , Mary conce ived he r child in her w omb for nine m ont hs,
unde rwent labour pangs, and soon a fter brought Jesus into the world. If we
cont inue with t his prem ise we will rea lize that all w omen sha re a common bond
of sat isfact ion at the first cry of t heir babies. Ma ry fe lt the same way at the
birth of Jesus – the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Every mother is
expected t o breat he a s igh of re lie f w ith the birt h of her ba by. But much m ore
than that , she beg ins an e mot ional j ourney
with her baby a ll through the preca rious stages
If a woman feels
of life.
relaxe d, it’s because

Remembe r every w oma n unde rtakes childbirth her chil dren are
not as a me re huma n act ivity but as a divine
enjoyin g familial
activity. The j oy of bringing a new life in to the
world supe rce des the pains of la bour. And if stability. And i f she
every woma n realizes that this divine act is
senses a lack of t his
sacrosa nct, the n it makes family life and
in gredient, she
womanhood res pected for all time. A woman
follows the stages of growt h of he r baby as a be comes restles s and
duty a nd s he finds m uch joy assisting the baby
runs from pillar to
to stand on his feet. When her child is doing
p ost to ensure that
well, the joy flowing in he r heart is unbounde d.
But whe n the child does poorly in terms of s he does not fail.
relat ing w ith the w orld, t he woma n’s heart
alone suffe rs grie f and scorn. Mary suffered
such scorn whe n he r only son was innocently condem ned, tie d to the wood of
the cross and died afte r a grotesque hum iliat ion at the hands of Roma n soldie rs
and vindictive Jew ish officials. While H is loved ones deserted him , Mary and
the other w omen rem ained res ilient in allev iating the pains of Jesus even on
the Cross.

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Mary is t he m othe r of Jesus a nd Jesus is the S on of God, a fa ct that all


Christ ians sha re. I did not say a fact to which all Catholics adhere. All Christia ns
respect Jesus in his div inity and humanit y. But why can’t they recognize Mary
as we do? Jesus ha d to come through the natura l process of human birth ,
taking human flesh a nd living as man. This is theologica lly re ferred t o as
Incarnation – the enfles hment of God in huma n form. Alt hough Jes us is G od, he
humble d himse lf taking the form of a slave to be born in the flesh in orde r to
redeem m ank ind. This involves Mary in the sense th at Mary ’s blood runs
through t he ve ins of Jesus. He r w hole life was dedicated to the nurturing of
this ‘litt le infant ’ whom she conceive d by the power of the Holy Spirit. This
singular act ion deserves comme ndat ion by the Catholic Church a nd it was quick
to build devot ion a round this great woman whose qualities are ex ceedingly
appreciated. We m ust lea rn to a ppreciat e the value of our biological mot hers
and accord t hem the respect they deserv e.

Whe n I pray t he rosa ry, I reflect on this g reat gift of G od t o m a nkind in which a
woman willingly assisted in fulfilling the divine plan. It is in this regard t hat we
Catholics a cce pt Mary as a n icon of fa ith , spewing m any dogmas in her honour.
I view Mary as the woman who inspires othe r women to respect the ir roles of
child-be aring a nd child-rea ring. It does not mean t hat non -Catholics do not
practice this act of love, but that the differe nce becomes clear w hen Catholics
deeply appreciate Mary ’s role and go ahead to demonstrate it by arde nt
devotion.

We do not discard he r the m oment Jesus is brought int o the w orld. We acce pt
her pos ition as m othe r of Jesus a nd the mothe r of t he C hurch wit h powe rs to
influence what she can whe n we seek her favour. The bond of love betwee n
Jesus and Ma ry is equal to the kind tha t every w oman expe rie nces w ith he r
child. The persuasion of a mother is much stronger a nd bends the child to do a

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mothe r’s bidding. And for this sing ula r act of dev otion t o respe ct Mary ’s
sacrifices for Jesus and for the world, t he battle line is drawn between the
divides. But Mary has refused to leave the Church alone for recogniz ing he r
importa nce. Like any m othe r, she loves the Church as m othe r a nd intercessor.

Anytime I look at a w oman, I see her first as mothe r and as progenitor of


huma n life. Wome n by the ir nature interface div ine a ctiv ity and human a ctiv ity.
Unless wome n give birth t o the ir children we ca nnot maintain the human
species on ea rth and we ca nnot apprecia te the act of God. This process makes
the fam ily very unique and irreplacea ble.

Have you eve r pondere d what love a woman showe rs on he r family mem bers?
Its unadulte rated love sifte d from mom ents of joy, pa in and dedicat ion. She
stands in t he m iddle of t he family supplying love t o her children on one hand
and to her husba nd on the othe r. She bala nces this act by a specia l built in
mechanism w hich tells he r w hat t o do, w hat to say, and whe n t o a ct.

The re is a divine sensor that propels a woman to behave for the sake of he r
family membe rs even in t otal dis regard of her ow n safety. The power of sensing
danger ma ny kilomete rs away is found in women for ma ny reas ons. This is why
women ca n smell dange r but ca nnot read maps. While men on the ot her hand ,
can read ma ps but hardly sniff da nger in t heir backyard.

The gre atest joy for w omen is the security and welfare of t he ir childre n. If a
woman fee ls re laxed, it ’s beca use he r children a re enj oying familia l stability.
And if she senses a lack of these ingre die nts, she becomes rest less running
from pillar to post to ensure that she does not fa il. Even at great persona l
expense, she makes it expe die nt to make her childre n smile first before

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onsidering he r pe rsona l satisfaction. This makes t he role of the woma n


irreplace able in child upbring ing.

Men by t heir nature a re ha rd-hea rted, strong a nd domineering . If a w oma n


finds a man to compleme nt her kind -hea rt, ene rgetic zea l and tenderness, she
makes the home truly a home. T he im port ant thing for a woma n is that a strong
man ensures the welfare of he r childre n and future growth. And we bette r
accept the fact that w omen a re stronge r and better built for fam ily life.

A man does not think of dia pe rs when his wife is pregnant , but the w oman
alrea dy knows that the budget must accommodate this. She a lready begins a
journey w ith this new life in he r wom b by lite rally planning his schedule.
Eventua lly when t he ba by arrives she be gins the a rduous task of watching the
developmenta l stages of this new life. When the ba by takes the first steps she
is there. Whe n the baby beg ins to run, s he is watching. And whe n ba by begins
to run a round, s he spreads he r sens ory te ntacles watching over him .

Many times I contemplate the k ind of chemistry running between m othe r and
child and I wonde r how these tw o indiv iduals unde rstand them se lves? While
the child is busy mum bling incomprehe nsible mum bo-jum bo, the mot her is
alrea dy inte rpreting what the child is saying. And they seem t o get a long pretty
easy compa red to w hen the fathe r takes over. But t hat is the essent ial m oment
when m othe r and child enj oy a n unbreak able bond that superce des our w ildest
imagination. The origin of this bond is from God H imself who designed that
women s hould use the ir fra il bodies to te nd huma n life and make it strong.

It does not make sense to unde rrate this pos ition of women. Eve ry child
accords m ore respe ct to m othe r tha n to fathe r for obvious reasons. Even
though both coope rated in bringing new life int o the world, the child knows

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that the m othe r is something e lse. Ima gine Ma ry at the we dding of Ca na in


Galilee. She knew t hat Jesus’ hour had not yet arrived yet she pleade d with him
to assist t he hosts be cause t heir w ine wa s finished.

Every sane child must listen to a mot her’s plea. Jesus did exactly that. He
performed his first mira cle by turning water int o wine be cause his mot her
served as mediat or between an obe die nt son
and a thirsty bunch of me rry makers. Every
person who tasted the wate r t urned t o wine Ima gine Mary at the
wonde red w hy they kept the best wine until
we ddin g of Cana in
then. Can you not see that the influe nce of
Galilee. She knew that
Mary brought j oy to m any people at the
wedding? Women today are providing Jesu s’ hour ha d not yet
unquant ifiable amount of joy t o different
arrive d yet she p leade d
families. Are women not given the pow er of
persuas ion by God? Se nd a w oman t o make with him to assi st at the

sales for your product and y ou make a success ce lebration because t heir
of y our bra nd.
wine was finishe d. Every

This makes our Catholic culture inte res ting. sane child mu st listen to a

The bra nd we a re selling is that of a w oman mot her’s plea. They got
whose love for us is manifested by her
what the y wanted. Water
undy ing love for Jesus. Mary can do wha t we
ask of he r in praye rs. And s he’s w illing to was turned into wine

approa ch Jes us to re-e nact t he e pisode of


Cana for our a dvantage. Ma ry takes our
collect ive cry to God as an Intercessor not because God ca n be influenced by
the powe r of a woma n. But basically beca use God knows that the world ne eded
a Mary to have a Jesus and He cannot ignore what He des igned. Ma ry ca n

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cont ribute in renew ing t he world by he r mothe rly instinct. When we seek the
face of Mary in prayers , it ’s because we know that she can re -e nact the Ca na
episode for our be nefit. So we have the rosary and othe r forms of Marian
devotions t o a chieve this obje ctive.

Every woman loves to persua de her children into doing something pos itive. If
condit ions show her that their tom orrow is in great dange r, s he beg ins to seek
ways of rectifying it today. Many wom en shed tears, live in agony and live
lonely lives for the ir childre n. The only opt ion for most women is to support
their childre n in mome nts of g reat de pression know ing that t heir children
desire a better life for a purpose ful t omorrow. It ’s not a w asteful m oment
because whe n we sow a seed today we reap the fruit of t he ha rvest tomorrow.
Children k now when a mother stands by them and they are quick to prov ide
comfort for the ir patie nt m othe r.

This is precisely w hy I love the Cat holic posit ion on Mary. S he is t he


quintessentia l w oman w ho desires the good of a ll her siblings; a lways standing
by the ir nee ds and assuring that the ir w elfa re is secure d. I love to s how t hat
Mary re presents a ll wome n in the sense of this urge ncy in ens uring that wome n
tend the ir childre n wit h the best ca re possible. They m ake them sm ile in a
family setting that makes t hem bala nce d as Jesus was. Every w oman is Ma ry re -
personifie d in te rms of rea ping the j oy s of mot herhood and empat hiz ing in
moments of pa ins and sorrow.

Our world t oday is drift ing away from re cognizing that the sta bility of women
in t he fa mily mea ns better condit ions f or our childre n. I do not want to be
disres pectful t o the menfolk, but j ust imagine w ome n a bandoning childbirth,
childcare and refusing to be m othe rs. Our world w ill be t rans formed into a first
generation Jurassic Park decimat ing the human population to t ota l de cline. And

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this is not the first time we are hearing t his. Pope Paul VI elaborated this in his
all t ime encyclica l Humane Vitae in 1968. On the ot her hand, if women a re seen
as instrume nts of fam ily stability , then we have conquere d the fear of
irresponsible children.

Have you ever stoppe d to reflect about the giggles of mothe r and ba by? They
both sha re a common innocence subsumed in moments of com plete
transform ation from the realit ies of this world . They are seemingly unaware of
the act ivit ies around them. The expe rie nce of t his mome nt is a life long bond
that they carry through eternity demonstrating t he powe r of unity between
mothe r a nd child.

Every woman must love to nurture her childre n and make them ha ppy . Nothing
can be fa r from this that every woman loves a happy family and whe n I see one
it makes me happy too. I know that t here a re people out the re who are
comm itted t o mak ing it work. Mary stood by he r s on until deat h a nd so wome n
must follow the same path and keep the ir children wa rm wit h confidence.

The joy of every woma n is to find cont entment and happiness in he r fam ily ,
with he r childre n giving he r j oy under a very support ive husband. That should
be the lesson we can take from the Holy Fam ily of Nazaret h, the fam ily of
Jesus, Mary a nd J oseph. The binding force is Mary and she played her role w ith
una lloyed obe die nce to the w ill of God. In the same way, w omen t oday m ust
learn to bear the burdens of the ir familie s. Not so much as to be unloved or to
suffe r alone , but that throug h pat ience and persevera nce t hey will rea p the
fruits of the ir la bour.

History w ill remem ber what they have done a nd accord t hem rig htful place s for
their diligence a nd de dication t o the ca use of fam ilia l life. Ma ry did exactly the

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same and she is never forgotten by the C atholic Church as found in the gos pels.
So we set out to demonstrate our respe ct for her mag nanim ity every 15 t h of
August – the Feast of the Assum ption. Through t his cele brat ion we reca ll how
Mary consente d to make the plan of God be come a reality, how she bore the
pains of seeing Jesus humiliated by the authorit ies and yet, she be came a
support ive figure in t he life of Jes us until he was g lorified at the resurre ction
when Jes us trium phe d over evil.

It means that if every woman lives her life accor ding to the will of God as a
woman and truly finds joy in ra ising happy
childre n wit hout breaking the divine
I do want to be
ordinance, she too has unw ittingly unde rtaken
disrespe ctful to the
the kind of a ctiv ity to which Ma ry conse nted.
menfolk, but just
In this se nse every woman is Ma ry for
imagine women
respectfully obeying the aut hority of G od by
abandoning chil dbirth,
bringing forth life a nd nurt uring it. But much
mot her care and
more tha n that, developing the nece ssary
refusing to be family.
shocks to bear with the vagaries of fa milia l
Our worl d will be
life dow n through the ages as a taste of
transforme d into a first
womanhood, makes the wom an a force to be
generation Jurassic
reckoned w ith in the life of the w orld and the
park decimating the
Church. While I urge my non-Cat holic friends
human population.
to make a greate r effort to re cognize Ma ry by
celebrat ing he r, I equally desire that every
woman should stand up to her role a nd be the wom an that G od has designe d
for her. By so doing, eve ry woman should be Mary in chara cter a nd indee d
adding sa lt t o the ea rth a nd light to a darkened w orld.
Victor C. Yakubu is a pries t of the Catholi c Diocese of Zaria, Nigeria. You can
reach him at viccheny@chendekemen.com

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