My mind is all over the place with this reflection, so bear with me.
Really, the first thing I think of when I think of Mary is Marian hymns. I remember in grade school learning all kinds of Marian hymns. Some of the most notable are "Bring Flowers of the Fairest; Bring Flowers of the Rarest" and "On This Day" I have nightmares about these songs. I like "Hail Mary, Gentle Woman" the best. Now that I think about it, you don't hear very many contemporary aka rock n roll songs about Mary.
When I think of Mary, I think of a mother. I remember Sister Mary Anne, in grade school, telling us to pray to Mary to get Jesus to do something for us, because good boys, and Jesus is a good boy, always listen to their mothers.
When I think of Mary, I think of a wife. She married Joseph. I wonder what their life was like.
When I think of Mary, I think of a woman wearing blue. Nearly every picture and statue I have seen of Mary depicts her in blue. The only exception I can think of is Our Lady of Perpetual Help, where she is dressed in black.
But we know so little about Mary's life, other than wife and mother. I wonder if what her activities she liked to do. I wonder is she had a favorite food. What is her favorite color? Was she well known for something, like knitting or cooking? Did she have a secret ingredient that made some dish the talk of the neighborhood?
When we look at these images of Mary, we see a perfect young maiden. I wonder if Mary had pimples? If she had any scars from illness or accidents? I think about her hands. Were they rough and calloused? Were they elegant?
I also wonder about all of Mary's various titles. She has so many different names. How did she get them? I know Mary is called the Star of the Sea. Why? I'm guessing Mary never really saw the Sea, or maybe she did on the Flight into Egypt.
I suppose, in reality, I'm not a very good Catholic. I don't have this deep devotion (or any devotion really) to Mary like others seem to have. I see Mary as a wife and mother, neither of those vocations I feel called to at this particular time. I know Mary is a woman, but we know so little of her life outside of wife and mother, it doesn't really speak to me.
I guess when I think of Mary, I think of the mother I wish I had. Mary is so idealized that it is hard to really identify with her.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help,
or sought thine intercession
was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence,
I fly unto thee,
O Virgin of virgins, my mother;
to thee do I come,
before thee I stand,
sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Mary, Queen of Heaven