May 8, 2011

The Mystery of Motherhood and Mary the Mother of the Lord

Motherhood is a great gift to the world, and God raised this gift to a whole new level when Mary said “yes” to his invitation to be his mother.  Mothers help us find our humanity even as babies – they are our human connection even from the moment of conception.  Because of a mother’s love, a baby gradually becomes aware of a whole network of loving relationships into which he or she is born.  Enveloped in a mother’s love, a baby learns to love, learns what it means to thrive as a human being – mothers are the first ones who show us that we are most truly ourselves when we give ourselves in love.   

When the Word became flesh, He made it possible for God to rely on a mother’s love.  He allowed her to comfort Him in his tears, to nurse Him in his hunger, to soothe Him in his loneliness, and to clothe his nakedness.  From her, as is written in the love of all good mothers, He glimpsed the secret of what it means to love until the end.  In all these ways and many more, He allowed Mary’s maternal love to “teach” Him the secret of being fully human so that He would be like us in all things but sin.     

There are two corollaries that come out of this reflection.  The first is that by faith, the experience of motherhood is transformed.  Christ hides himself in our children, all our children, especially the poor, the sick and the abandoned.  Mothers who search for Jesus in the children entrusted to them discover that like Mary they are also comforting, nursing, soothing, and clothing God himself.  On the other hand, by faith, Jesus gives every Christian the gift of his Mother.  Those who welcome her into their homes discover she continues to teach her Son’s love that we might ponder with her “all these things” in our hearts.