One of the lesser-known titles of Mary is Mother of Hope. Despite not being widely known, I think it’s one of her most important titles for our present times. In many ways, it surpasses Queen of Peace even though we face the real possibility of a third world war. War is devastating and downright scary, and we all certainly must pray for peace.

But before we pray for peace, we must pray for hope. Hope is what makes us yearn and work for peace. Hope is what keeps us going during times of hardship, sickness, distress, loss, and fear. Hope leads us to believe in peace.

Mary is the Mother of Hope and we turn to her when our state of affairs seems hopeless.

I see Mary as Mother of Hope when I reflect on the Wedding at Cana. It’s one of my favorite Marian narratives from Scripture because it brings Mary’s sensitivity to the foreground. You may recall that Mary, Jesus, and his disciples were invited to the wedding celebration of a young couple – perhaps relatives of Mary’s. During the festivities, the couple ran out of wine – a disgrace in that time period and culture. Mary, ever sensitive to the needs of others, noticed this and immediately sought to remedy the situation. She approached Jesus and asked him to miraculously supply the wedding hosts with more wine. Initially, he did not want to since performing a miracle in public would reveal him as the Messiah and the time for that had not yet come. Still, Mary did not despair. She did not know for certain whether Jesus would perform a miracle, but she had certain hope that he would. She then instructed the servants to “do whatever he tells you” and waited for Jesus to take the lead. Jesus told the servants to fill six large stone jars with water and he changed the water into fine wine.

To me, this story seems more about hope than about Jesus’ first public miracle (although that is a paramount aspect). In her sensitive, motherly way, Mary noticed the needs of the wedding couple. True, she saw to it that they had more wine, but in doing this she brought them hope. In the same way, she brings us hope when the wine of our lives runs out. When we find ourselves without resources, understanding, direction, and possibility, she brings our concerns before her Son. With certain hope that Jesus will remedy our situation, she turns to us and says, “Do whatever he tells you.” Then it’s up to us to heed our Lord’s instructions.

Mary brings us hope even in the most seemingly hopeless situations. The miracles we receive might not be as speedy or obvious as water turned to wine, but they will happen according to God’s wisdom, providence, and timing. Mary reminds us that we must never give up hope and that we must place our trust in Jesus. That applies to our current world situation as well. It might seem like a hopeless situation, but still, we must not lose hope. Our prayers, penances, and petitions count for something even though we don’t see it. In our human understanding, we cannot fully comprehend God’s ways. His plan is perfect even when it requires hardship and grief. There is a reason; it just hasn’t been made known to us yet. Mary knows this and so she continues to urge us toward constant hope. She is our Mother of Hope.

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Image: Tintoretto, Wedding at Cana, about 1545.


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