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Dec 19, 2013

The Making of Mary: A Biblical Walk with the Blessed Mother

Deacon John Harden

It all started more than a year ago. We had decided to move forward with a new series that had been proposed by Dr. Edward Sri. We were going to produce a study on Mary and we were in the midst of planning for it. What would we call the series? How many sessions would it be? What would it look like? It was all coming together beautifully. We knew we were developing something great. No, that’s not right. It wasn’t just going to be great. It was going to be amazing. We were going to give people the opportunity to meet Mary and her Divine Son in a personal way.

Then it happened. The best way to describe it is using that old cliche of the music being stopped with a screech in the record. Our creative director, Chris Cope, said, “We should film this in Israel.” A pause in our conversation gave way to a collective, “Yes!” It wasn’t as if we said, “Yes, that would be nice. What a neat thing to do.” It was more than a simple agreement. It was a deep feeling that in order to do this right, in order to bring the story of Mary to life, we would need to take people on a pilgrimage with her. And that’s what we did.

The Holy Land

Nearly a year later, I would find myself sitting on a plane over the Atlantic on the way to the Holy Land. I should have been getting some rest, but I couldn’t. I was too excited. I had never even been overseas before, let alone to the Holy Land. What would it be like to be in the very place where Jesus and Mary lived, to have the same soil under my feet that they walked upon? I couldn’t even begin to imagine the feeling of stepping foot in such a marvelous place.

And for a while it didn’t happen!

After making our way through customs we boarded a shuttle for Jerusalem. Along the way we saw a lot of the Holy Land, but I had not yet stepped foot on Holy Land. We had only walked on the modern concrete structures of Ben Gurion Airport.

The Sea of Galilee

Then, when we arrived at our hotel, we met for dinner and discussed how the first day of filming would go. It wasn’t until we took a walk later that evening that I was able to step foot on Holy Land for the first time. As I did I scooped up a handful of dirt, showed it to my friend Steve, and said, “Look. Here it is. We’re in the Holy Land. I have in my hand Holy Land!”

A wave of emotion swept over me. It was hard to believe I was really there. And yet, something else struck me. There in my hand was soil that Jesus may have tread upon at one point. As amazing as it was, it couldn’t compare to the reality that several hours prior to that I had gone to Mass. I had heard our Lord speaking to me through his Holy Word. I had received him in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist. I had conversed with him and his Blessed Mother in prayer. I realized that this was not the first time I had stepped foot on Holy Land. I had done it thousands of times before. I didn’t need to travel 6700 miles to be with Jesus and Mary. But, apparently, I needed to travel that far to be reminded of that.

Mary Film ScreenshotAfter experiencing Mary: A Biblical Walk with with Blessed Mother, I think you’ll come to the same realization. You can have the most profound relationship with Jesus and Mary every single day of your life. That’s why I’m so excited about this series. When you see it, you won’t just know what it’s like to be in the Holy Land. You will realize that Jesus and Mary are with you here and now.

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing more behind-the-scenes stories from The Making of Mary: A Biblical Walk with the Blessed Mother. Until then, I hope you enjoy this clip from the study. When you are finished, this might be a good time to pick up your Rosary and spend some time with Jesus and Mary.


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  • When reciting the Rosary, I attempt to picture Saint Elizabeth proclaiming the miracle that was developing inside of Mary! I also attempt to capture in my mind the attire that was worn during that day, from the sandals up to the head dress. I wonder about the weather and what type of climate the area had when the visitation began. These points of interest helps me concentrate more on the Rosary than what is in my mind (remnants of the workday). Mary, Our Mother in heaven must have been so mature and so very special to undertake such an awesome responsibility. With the repercussions of the Jewish faith, that is stoning for being unfaithful prior to marriage, Mary is the ultimate role model for any women, regardless of age.

    • Yes! What you are describing is called imaginitive prayer, and it is a very fruitful practice.

      A point of clarification: Mary was married to St. Joseph when she became pregnant with Christ. In Jewish culture, the betrothal period was part of the marriage process, and it occurred before the couple would begin living together. In our culture, you get married and move in right away. In first century Judaism, a couple would get married by being betrothed, then they would move in together nearly a year later. But they would be married the whole time.

      You see this in Mt. 1:19 where it refers to Joseph as the “husband” of Mary, and the previous verse describes this as the time “before they lived together.”

  • It is such a sorrowful mystery that I pray for all the young women today, many who are still only children themselves, bringing new life into this world without a husband to provide for them, either with or without family or community support from other generous women of faith.

    • Amen. This is why we need to do what we can for those in need. God has given so many of us so many blessings. God is calling us to share our gifts with others, and in doing so, our blessings will bring us even greater happiness.

  • Does anyone know when the Mary series will kick off? I’m so excited! I feel like there’s several efforts towards getting to know her better all being launched this year. I can’t wait.

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