Ope-Ed: What Men Can Learn From Mary, Mother of Jesus

By Matthew J. Milliner
“Mary, Comforter of the Afflicted I,” 2016, by Kehinde Wiley.Credit...Courtesy of Galerie Daniel Templon.
The European museum director asked me my field of study, and I replied, “icons of the Virgin Mary.” His silver beard unsuccessfully concealed a snicker. “Men don’t typically study Mary,” he told me. I still found my way to Europe for my doctoral studies, visiting countless Byzantine churches, chasing depictions of Mary. That men, too, are called to also be like Mary is less a result of transgressive gender theory than of mainstream Christian theology. Jesus, after all, calls anyone his mother who does the will of God (Mark 3:35). For Paul, not just women, but all Christians groan in labor along with creation itself (Romans 8:22-23). That having been said, “Mary is for both men and women,” as my colleagues Amy Peeler and Jennifer McNutt have asserted, and both sexes can take her as their model. [More]
The Holy Family, 1634, by Rembrandt, in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich.Credit...Getty Images