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In Superman

Superman’s two mothers, Lara from Krypton and Martha Kent of Earth, are also better compared with Mary together. Superman’s biological mother, Lara, comes from an almost supernatural place in the other-worldly, highly advanced planet Krypton. Lara participates in sending her son on a mission to save the Earth and dies in the process. She lives on in a way as a computer-driven hologram (in Superman II), but there is no mention of her surviving death in any other way. Martha Kent, takes over motherly duties as Superman’s earthly mother. Like Mary, Martha suffers along with her son and consoles him as he fights evil on Earth. Both sacrifice for their son and send him on his saving mission.

The interesting difference here is that the Superman mothers’ timeline is the opposite of Mary’s. It’s the Heaven-like place first on Krypton with the divine-like Lara and her spouse begetting Superman, giving him his powers and then dying. Then Martha takes over on Earth by raising Superman as a normal human boy. Mary’s timeline starts out more like the Martha character, and then she attains her supernatural status, like Lara, after her death and assumption into Heaven and lives on, which is certainly a better outcome.

In Wonder Woman

In Wonder Woman, two characters stand out in comparison to Mary: the Amazon queen, Hippolyta, and her daughter, Diana, who is Wonder Woman. Hippolyta is a semi-divine queen of the Amazons, who according to the 2017 movie were created by Zeus to protect mankind. We learn as the movie unfolds that Diane is the daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta and is the “Godkiller,” one who can kill the devil in the movie, Ares, the God of War. So, like Mary, Hippolyta is known primarily as a mother to her extra-ordinary offspring. Diana, like Mary, is created for a great purpose: to save mankind from evil. She saves the world from Ares and then continues the battle against evil by joining the Justice League. Like Mary also, Diana is inspiring, fearless, beautiful, long-lived and ageless.

The Amazon mother and daughter’s story remains an earthly one, however. Diana, presumably could one day ascend to the throne as Queen of the Amazons, but she will never be made the Queen of Heaven itself. Diana’s powers are indeed great, but nothing on the scale of Mary’s, who has the author of life itself for a son and ally.

In The Lord of the Rings

The elf queen, Galadriel, in The Lord of the Rings was intended to be a type of Mary in the story. Her character is not known primarily as a mother but as a queen in her own right. She is ethereal, beautiful and immortal. She has powers of prophesy. She is tempted by the ring, the symbol of great, evil earthly power, but does not give in to temptation. And, she is a great aid, both physically and spiritually, to the members of the Fellowship of the Ring.

She differs from Mary in that, from what we know, she does not start out in a humble way to attain her queen-ship. But most importantly, she is not the mother of the savior in the story and does not become the Queen of Heaven.

In The Chronicles of Narnia

In The Chronicles of Narnia, the closest character to Mary is Lucy, a humble girl who comes from outside the world of Narnia from England to become a queen of Narnia by the Christ of this universe, Aslan. She comes back to Narnia on several occasions to help Aslan in a saving mission. When she dies in England, she is assumed along with her brothers into the heavenly afterworld kingdom of Narnia.

Lucy differs from Mary in that Lucy is not Aslan’s mother, nor was she created to be his mother. As such, she does not play as central a role in the saving of the world as Mary does.

Conclusion

Though her character and story are unmatched, Mary is not likely to become a popular culture figure other than as a Christmas nativity figurine. For one thing, she is known primarily as a mother, which is not a particularly fashionable or culturally correct figure in this day and age. But perhaps even more, her fullness of grace shines a light on the darkness in the world, a darkness that many of us prefer to be in.

I often wonder what if would be like just to be in the same room with Mary, even in her mere human condition. I can only think I would react in one of two opposing ways. One way would be to attempt to emulate her goodness. Like Princess Leia’s influence on Luke and Han, just being near her for any length of time would only help to improve your own life. The other reaction would be to stay away from her completely. She would be hard to be around if you wanted to be bad in any way.

The female characters I’ve compared her with are all good and interesting characters, but they all fall short in comparison with Mary, both in their character makeup and stories. Being a Mary character does not mean she can’t make mistakes (like Mary’s son, the Logos), but to be at Mary’s level, the character cannot ever intentionally even consider doing an immoral act. Without the tendency to sin, I suspect a person like Mary would have no discernable character defects. So as a character in a story, she is a unique and formidable figure. Possibly she is one who would be too difficult to make work for most writers. Someone too good to be true! And yet she is.

And, yes, she must also be the mother to the greatest child ever to have lived—God himself.

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I am indebted to Tim Staples and his book, Behold Your Mother, which provided me many insights into the person who is the Mother of God. I highly recommend it.

THE END

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Photo by StockSnap (Pixabay)

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