Our Lady and Her Bishops: Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Friday, January 31, 2020


As we recognize the service to our Diocese of  Sioux Falls of one bishop and await another, we note the connection between the Mother of God and her Bishops, who are the Successors of the Apostles.

Mary knew well the Apostles, who were the friends of her Son, Jesus, and the first Bishops. After the Ascension of Christ to His Father, Mary and the Eleven Apostles joined in the Upper Room. “All these (the Apostles) with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the Mother of Jesus, and with His brethren.” (Acts of the Apostles 1:14)

Before the period between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday, there was Good Friday. From the Cross, the dying Jesus commended His Mother to Saint John the Apostle and vice versa. “When Jesus saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing near, He said to His Mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your Mother!’” (Saint John 19:25-27) This entrustment was not merely a courtesy, but instead had lasting implications. “And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.” (27)

One tradition is that Our Lady lived with Saint John for some years in Ephesus, which is situated in modern-day Turkey. (Others assert that Mary lived in Jerusalem.) Many believe that the “House of the Virgin Mary” in Ephesus, which is a place of pilgrimage, was where she and John resided. Ephesus was also the location of the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, held in 431.

We can imagine that the Mother of the Lord loved and supported John. She must have shared details from her life with Jesus and Saint Joseph. John, in turn, undoubtedly loved Mary and treated her as his own mother.

What a scene it must have been when Mary attended Mass celebrated by Saint John! In his True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716) cited the learned Jean Charlier de Gerson (1363-1429), the Chancellor of the University of Paris, who asserted that Our Lady often repeated the Magnificat, especially as a thanksgiving after she received Holy Communion (see 255).

Still today, the Bishops of the Church—and all of us—rely upon the prayers of Our Blessed Mother as we progress along the challenging road to Heaven.

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