An indication of the universality of Mary comes from the pen of the Protestant novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne: “I have always envied the Catholics that sweet, sacred, Virgin Mother who stands between them and God, mediating somewhat His overwhelming splendor, but permitting His love to be bestowed upon the worshipper more understandably through the medium of a woman’s tenderness.”
Mary’s womanly tenderness makes her more accessible to people. She is Mother to everyone. As proof of this, she has appeared to her children in Mexico, Portugal, France, Ireland, Poland, Lithuania, Italy, Rwanda, Japan, Vietnam, Peru, Ecuador, Belgium, the United States and the Czech Republic. This is an incomplete list, and she has appeared several times in a given country.
Saint Anselm has said, Mary “was made the Mother of God more for sinners than for the just.” This is most fitting, since Christ said that He came not to save the just but to call sinners to repent. Mary leads us to God, just as she gave God to the world.
Those who strike against Mary are at the same time striking against God. Mary gave birth to God and thus was indispensable in His coming into the world. In a certain sense, rejecting Mary is a logical beginning for the rejection of God.
The English poet Coventry Patmore remarked that Mary “saves us from an abstract Christ.” Mary made it easier to know God and to worship Him. She endowed Him with flesh so that He could interact with others as a flesh-and-blood Person. Flesh-and-blood humanity is a universal description of the human being. In this regard, she also manifests her universality.
We need Mary now, perhaps more than at any time since she gave birth to our Savior.