The Mother of All Christians
As you probably can tell, my enthusiasm for Our Lady has lately been rekindled, for a variety of reasons though all emanating from God's grace.
One is that it's slowly dawned on me that to whom much has been given, from them many others will receive. In other words there's no such thing as a "grace hoarder" - God gives to those who in turn will give. And as Mary was the supreme recipient of God's grace she is also the supreme giver of that grace. (What should be patently obvious is that she is not the generator of grace. A cursory reading of the gospels makes that obvious.)
Second, Donal Foley's book "Understanding Medjugorje" was impactful.(Did I really just use that word?) What he tears down with one hand (by discouraging Medjugorje) he builds with the other (Fatima). And with Fatima, if it was good enough for Pope John Paul II and Ricardo Montalban then it's good enough for me. (Well, JPII anyway.)
Third, it all makes perfect sense. Why should I be subject only to the first Eve's disobedience and not also be heir to the new Eve's obedience? I did nothing to deserve the taint of Original Sin and nor did I do anything to deserve God's grace. And while all Christians are comfortable with Mary being the fleshy mother of Jesus - the conduit from which Christ's body flowed - there is squeamishness about she being a conduit of Christ's grace. Part of that might be due to a lingering Gnosticism that doesn't fully accept God as creator of both flesh and spirit. Or maybe some, deep down, consider Mary relatively unimportant because if she'd have refused her role, God would've found another way to get Jesus born. Presumably He'd have found someone else - though that's hardly biblical since the scary part of the biblical message is that actions have consequences. Did we not learn that with the first Eve and the tragic ensuing history of death and sin? So if we thus devalue Mary's initial fiat we may devalue her subsequent role. Yet, as the saying goes, "no Mary, no Jesus; know Mary, know Jesus."
UPDATE: "Fatima, the shrine with rich corinthian leather?" - Terrence Berres comments.