One of the fondest memories I have of my wife happened when we were first dating.
We were watching a soccer game at a local park and while we were waiting for the second half to begin, we went back to the car to grab water bottles so as to quench our thirst on the hot summer day.
She had her Bible sitting on the passenger’s seat and, in an effort to woo her, I turned to one of the more beautiful passages from the book of Proverbs called “The Ideal Wife” (Proverbs 31:10-31). After reading it aloud in her native Spanish, I felt like Don Juan swimming in a pool of tender (cheesy), heartfelt and truly spirited love. She (or God) must have felt the same way, because a year later we were married.
Married. That word, in fact that whole passage about “The Ideal Wife,” took on new meaning four years after we made our vows. It wasn’t until then that I realized that to be married is to be Mary’d!
Let me explain using Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s words:
“She [Mary] is forever a ‘traitor’ in the sense that she will not accept any devotion for herself, but will always bring anyone who is devoted to her to her Divine Son. As those who lose devotion to her lose belief in the Divinity of Christ, so those who intensify devotion to her gradually acquire that belief.” (Taken from Archbishop Sheen’s book, The World’s First Love)
You see, as I searched for perfection in a woman, I sought the Ideal Wife from Proverbs 31. But little did I know that such a woman already existed, Mary, and I was really searching for her.
So when the Psalmist writes about this perfect woman in the following ways,
“She secures her provisions from afar,”
Who better did this than Mary who wrapped her Babe in swaddling clothes?
Who better does this today than my wife who carries that same Babe within her soul swaddled in the virtues humility and wisdom?
“She distributes food to her household,”
Who brought us the spiritual food of the Eucharist to satisfy our deepest hunger? God through Mary.
Who helps bring physical food to our table to nourish our bodies and strengthen our souls? God through my wife.
“She reaches out to the poor,”
Who but Mary would I want to take me by the hand to meet her Son?
Who but my wife has already united three, Jesus, her and me, through the sacrament symbolized by the infinite circle that wraps around my ring finger?
I see my wife with one eye and God’s perfect mother with the other. If God truly is love, and if I as a Christian am to imitate Jesus’ manifestation of this virtue, then surely my love for His mother should be no different than His love for her. At the same time, my love for my wife should be no less, especially since she too is a “traitor,” like Mary, in the sense that she takes my love and brings it to the sacrificial and sacramental fountain of God.
This is why I make less distinction between the two as I live out my vocation, for I am not only married, I’m Mary’d!