Mary: Model of Discipleship


Mary is the ideal model for every disciple. The gift of her faith and absolute openness and trust that led her to put her whole life in God’s hand also allowed God to become human through her. She followed Jesus all the way to the Cross and by accompanying the disciples there; Mary collaborated actively in Jesus’s mission. We who follow Jesus and accept the mission in history, follow Mary, the model and ask her to accompany us in our efforts to lead others to Jesus. Mary is shown to be a heroic and unconditional follower of Jesus on that Good Friday afternoon, amidst so many denials, absences, and betrayals. Mary is where she must be, at Jesus’ side, a strong woman accompanying her son and the other disciples. So, Mary becomes a true disciple of Jesus.[1]

The true disciple is the one who travels along the way of Jesus realising that he or she is called to follow the way of the Lord in times of suffering and difficulties. Mary’s whole life reflects the same as she travelled along the path of the Lord in the of way of suffering. It shows that the disciples are called to seek the way of the Lord to become a prefect model in imitating Christ.

Mary teaches us that the cost of discipleship is one’s own personal sharing of the Cross. Mary who is the mother of Jesus is also the mother of all believers in as much she helps them to become Jesus’s disciples, to become Jesus’ “brothers” and His “children,” that is “children of God.” So, Mary is at the same time the mother of Jesus and the mother of all His disciples.[2]  Joyce states in her article called “Mary, Disciple and Model of Religious life.”

Mary was the one who responded to the call of Jesus same as a disciple. So she can be rightly called as a disciple.  So Mary becomes a perfect example of discipleship. We know that today discipleship means which is total, radical, productive and fulfilling. Mary in her life has shown us a life in keeping   with this same example of a disciple. So Mary, the disciple becomes an example to the consecrated in following the Lord, that is the following the Gospel which is fundamental to the consecrated. Mary too surrenders herself to live the life of a disciple; she was given the assurance that nothing is impossible for God. As a disciple, Mary always maintained her integrity of faith and remained totally consecrated and committed to Jesus from the cradle of Calvary.[3]

Mary is the model of perfect discipleship “whoever does the will of my Father in Heaven is, my brother and sister and mother” (Mt 15:20). Here Jesus points out that Mary’s role as His disciple was more important than her role as His Mother. Mary was able to become a disciple of Jesus because of her life of union with the Father, her closeness with Jesus and her receptivity to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. This was her life of contemplation as consecrated person.[4] In the powerful words of the magnificat, she becomes not only a disciple but also a prophet. So Mary is an example for the consecrated to speak powerfully to bring justice to the poor.[5]  As being the model of a disciple who followed the Lord, Mary becomes the perfect model for the religious, to follow the Lord in a radical way. She relied totally on God and lived the ‘fiat’ in all the events of her life.

The Blessed Virgin Mary does not disillusion any of the profound expectations of the men and women of our time but offers them the perfect model of the disciple of the Lord: the disciple who builds up the earthly and temporal city while being a diligent pilgrim towards the heavenly and eternal city, the disciple who works for justice  which set free the oppressed and for that charity which assists the needy; but above all, the disciple who is the active witness of tat love which builds up Christ in people’s hearts.[6]

[1] C.M Cervantes, Evangelisation of Hispanic Young People – Prophets of Hope, Winona, St Mary 1995, p. 32.
[2] J. Kurichiyaniyil, “Mary in the Gospel of John,” Bible Bhashyam 37, no. 1, 2011, pp. 42-73.
[3] J. Thonkikuzhiyil, “Mary Disciple and Model of Religious Life” Mary Today, pp. 132- 148.
[4] M. Paulette, “Consecrated Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” Flos Carmeli, 2015, pp. 79-82.
[5] B. R. Gaventa, Mary Glimpses of the Mother of Jesus, Edinburgh, T and T Clark, 1999, pp. 73.
[6]  Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Marilais Cultus,” 2nd February 1974, L’ Osservatore Romano, no. 14, 4th April 1974, pp. 1-9.

What do you think?