Mary is our Mother

Photo by Marco Millan (12E), XS Media Team

The following sharing was delivered by Bro. Cosme Carlo A. Lacang, SJ to the High School unit last 07 October 2016 during the mass in honor of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.

When I was a thin second year high school student (we call it grade 8 these days), I suddenly got ill while I was in class. I was subsequently taken to the school infirmary. The nurse took care of me until my mother came surprisingly quick to ask how I was and if I could be brought home. She came all the way from work and had to excuse herself to take care of me. When we were about to leave the infirmary, with my mother bringing my two big bags, the bell rang and I knew that my friends and classmates were on their way down to the canteen where we were about to pass. So I rudely asked my mother, “Ma, please walk ahead of me. I’ll just be behind you.” In my foolish, childish desire to be perceived as cool and strong and independent, I did not want to be seen with my mother—and I think she understood that, so she quietly took ten steps ahead of me until we got away from the crowd and on to our trip home.

That scene, I think, is familiar to most of our young people today. We often distance ourselves from our parents—maybe not physically, but in some other ways that prevent us from showing the gratitude and affection and love they deserve. When we are at a crossroads in life, such as adolescence, when everything seems to be confusing, we think we can go by on our own and depend on our own strength. We think we can do it alone. But the truth is we simply can’t. We need others. And we most certainly need our mothers.

Even God needed a mother.

Think about this: God chose to have a mother in the person of Mary (maybe the first and only time in history for someone to pick his own mother). With his power and might, God could have won our salvation in grander, more awesome ways without needing a mother. But he chose to have a mother and be born of a mother.

We, then, see why Mary is important to Jesus: Mary gave life to Jesus. Mary took care of Jesus. Mary was there at the most important moments of Jesus’ life. Mary was Jesus’ mother, and we too are invited to embrace Mary as our mother.

Mary is mother to us because (1) she gives life and she nourishes. God, in his wisdom, has ordained that mothers be vessels of life. The mother is the home in which life grows and from which nourishment is taken. We owe our life to our mothers. Similarly, Mary gives us Jesus, our true life. Mary gives us not just her maternal self, but Jesus too, her loving son. In fact, the two are inseparable: where Mary is, there Jesus is. Devotion to Mary is devotion to Jesus. Love for Mary is love of Jesus. And where Jesus is, there we can find our truest selves, the fullness of our life.

Mary is mother to us because (2) she cares for us and she wants what’s best for us. It was at the wedding in Cana when Mary tells the servants (and us too) to “do whatever Jesus tells us to do.” This is a sweet command of love. Because she cares for us, because she wants us to find genuine happiness, she directs us to her son. When we are tempted to be selfish—Mary tells us to turn to her son. When our purity of thought and action is put to the test—Mary tells us to turn to her son. When we forget how it is to be kind and selfless and gentle and generous and forgiving—Mary tells us to turn to her son. When we are on the brink of responding to hate with hate, hurt with hurt, heartlessness with heartlessness—Mary tells us to turn to her son.

Mary is mother to us because (3) she gives us a family and she unites us with her other children. Our first reading today shows us Mary gathering the followers of Jesus in the spirit of prayer and fraternal love. In this, Mary is reminding us that we are never left alone in our way to Jesus—we always have brothers and sisters with us. What unites us is not blood, but spirit. What unites us is love.

Jesus loved Mary, his mother. We, too, are called to love Mary and to show this love so that others may be drawn back to her (and to Jesus). The practices we observe during the month of October (like praying the rosary or wearing the Marian medal) are not lifeless, meaningless devotions—they are offerings of love, our way to move ten steps closer to the mother we may have moved far away from because of our stubbornness or hardheartedness. This month and in other months, then, let’s stay close to Mary (and with her, her son Jesus). And so we pray…

Lovely Lady, our Mother ——-
Teach me how to pray!
God was just your little boy,
Tell me what to say!

Did you lift Him up, sometimes,
Gently on your knee?
Did you sing to Him the way
Mother does to me?

Did you hold His hand at night?
Did you ever try
Telling stories of the world?
O! And did He cry?

Do you really think He cares
If I tell Him things ——-
Little things that happen? And
Do the Angels’ wings

Make a noise? And can He hear
Me if I speak low?
Does He understand me now?
Tell me ——-for you know.

Lovely Lady, our Mother ——-
Teach me how to pray!
God was just your little boy,
And you know the way.

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