Mary and Motherhood
By Cheryl Dickow
The celebration of women and motherhood is most beautifully portrayed in a new book by Catholic author and speaker, Heidi Hess Saxton. Saxton, a convert to the Catholic faith and adoptive mother herself, exquisitely reveals the relationship between Mary and us, her adopted children in, "Behold Your Mother: Mary Stories and Reflections from a Catholic Convert." Beginning with three short personal stories that set the stage for the tone of the book which is one of love, honor, and a clear understanding of Mary's role in guiding us all to Christ, Saxton gives us the perfect book for time spent in quiet contemplation or when we are in need of a gentle reminder of the power we have in calling upon Christ. It was my good fortune to interview Heidi about her book, the way she has beautifully packaged it for Mother's Day to include a special blend tea bag and with a pretty envelope for mailing, and her blogspot that celebrates motherhood, www.beholdyourmotherbook.blogspot.com/.
Cheryl: I love your book, Behold Your Mother: Mary Stories and Reflections from a Catholic Convert, and thank you for sharing it with us. It is clearly a work of love and commitment to sharing Mary's role in our own personal journey with Christ. Please give us a little background on your inspiration to write this book.
Heidi: When I converted to Catholicism in 1994 from the Evangelical Christian tradition, I had no desire whatsoever to get to know Jesus' mother. She was just that - his mother, someone who makes an appearance in the Christmas crčche each year, then goes back into the box. Praying to Mary made no sense to me (though I did ask my friends to pray for me from time to time). I figured, why go to her when I have always gone straight to Jesus myself?
As I continued to grow in the faith, however, I began to change. There were two events that facilitated this change, which I describe in the book: a broken heart, and becoming a mother myself. And yet, I suspect that both these experiences had this affect on me because, as a new Catholic, I had been forced to return to a childlike kind of faith. More than ever, I had a sense that I was a child of God. And it was in that context that I came to experience Mary as truly my adopted spiritual mother.
Sometimes women feel overwhelmed by their role as caregiver and while we love to look at Mary as an "ideal," which can sometimes seem daunting, how can we also look to her as just "another mom?"
I remember those first weeks after receiving three children into our home (the oldest was later placed with another family), with little sleep and no time for little luxuries like a sit-down dinner or a shower. On one occasion, I watched helplessly as one of the children flushed a sock down the toilet while I was bathing the baby. I think that was the breaking point. "Help!" I cried. "You were the perfect mother, and had one perfect Son. I am and I have neither of those things. Pray for me!"
Outwardly, nothing changed. The sock did not miraculously resurface, the bathroom was still wall-to-wall water and kids. But inside, I was calmer. I no longer wanted to send the culprit down after the sock.
It was studying the Gospel passages about Mary, and imagining the "back story" behind the Gospel account, that led me to the "real" Mary - the woman behind the Man. So much of her life was hidden - as is ours. But she was - and is - first and foremost, human. Taking care of Jesus (and possibly Joseph's children from a previous marriage as well) was no different from raising any other child. The same mess. The same worry. The same choice to offer each moment back to God. When we keep that image clearly in mind, talking to Mary becomes no different from calling up Mom on the phone (except doesn't spoil the grandkids).
Cheryl: I was struck by the realization that this is the perfect "card" for Mother's Day because it can be cherished all year long. I also see this book as the perfect accompaniment to Eucharistic Adoration. I actually have a copy in my purse because it is such a perfect "pocket size." Is there a particular way you recommend the book be read?
Heidi: Most people I've talked to read it from cover to cover when they first get it, then go back and read it again at a more deliberate pace (especially the second half of the book containing the reflections). It's perfect for a "Mommy time out"; I enjoy pouring myself a cup of tea and spending some quiet time just letting my mind explore the images and scenes the book describes. It's a particularly good resource to have on hand for those who know of someone who is exploring the Church, particularly those who come from another Christian tradition. (My Baptist sister said she stayed up all night reading it.) The reflections could also work during holy hours or while saying the Rosary ... but my favorite way to engage Mary is through momentary ponderings, not formal prayers.
Cheryl: The book has a blogspot (beholdyourmotherbook.blogspot.com/) where you invite readers to share their stories. Please tell us what your hopes are for that blog.
Heidi: The subtitle of the blog - "A Bouquet of Love to Mary from Her Children" - really says it all. As I've been exploring a variety of Catholic blogs, I've been struck by how often Mary appears not as "Queen of Heaven" but as a true spiritual mother, mentor and friend.
"Behold Your Mother" is intended to help those who have an intellectual understanding of what the Church teaches about Mary, but who have a volitional or emotional barrier to overcome, often because of their faith background. The reason it's important to overcome these barriers is very simple: You can know someone only so well if you are on nodding terms from across the room. A child gets to know her mother by climbing up on her lap, or sitting beside her and chatting. We can do that by turning our hearts toward her at regular intervals during the day.
Cheryl: You are a woman's retreat and conference speaker. Could you please give us an idea of some of the topics you offer and how you can be contacted?
Heidi: One talk I especially enjoy giving is called, "Praying Like Our Lady: the Seven Words of Mary in Scripture." It's an introduction to the various prayer forms we use as Catholics.
Another talk is called "Good Girls of the Gospel," which takes each of the feminine virtues and explores them through the lens of the New Testament. (This one correlates most closely to "Raising Up Mommy: Virtues for Difficult Mothering Moments," which is also available at www.christianword.com) Of course, Mary is the ultimate "Good Girl" of the Gospel ... her life and her fiat provides a model for all of us.
A related talk is called "Taming the Mommy Monster," which examines the seven deadly sins and celestial virtues through the lens of motherhood.
I can best be reached through my website: a href=http://www.christianword.com target=_blank>www.christianword.com). My books are also available for purchase there by credit card or PayPal.
Cheryl: Is there anything else you would like to share with others?
Heidi: I'd like to encourage your readers not to feel rushed or pressured where Mary is concern. Her motherhood does not depend on our response. It took several years before I was really comfortable talking to Mary, and even now I don't pray the Rosary every day (just as I don't talk to my earthly mother on the phone every day). When I have a specific intention, my petitions become more "formal," but most of the time I just talk to her as I would any friend.
Every relationship goes through its chapters and its seasons. Different images, titles, and or quotes about Mary may appeal to you at different times of your life. The important thing to keep in mind is that Mary is God's gift to us - Jesus gave her to us from the Cross, to be mother of the whole Church. When we honor Mary, we honor her Son because all true Marian devotion always leads to Christ.
Ask, Knock, and Seek
http://www.BezalelBooks.com , US
Cheryl Dickow - author, writer, 248 917-3865
Mary, Virgin Mary, Blessed Mother, Motherhood
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- 26 Coptic Christians dead after heinous attack HD Video
- First US female genital mutilation case tries to use Religious ...
- A Big Thank You from JESUS IS - The Series HD Video
- Catholic Hostages: Filipino Cardinal prays for Islamic militants to ...
- Daily Readings for Sunday, May 28, 2017
- Bl. Margaret Pole: Saint of the Day for Sunday, May 28, 2017
- 26 Coptic Christians BRUTALLY MURDERED on bus to St. Samuel Monastery ...
- Day 5 - Novena to the Holy Spirit for a New Pentecost for the Church HD
- Day 4 - Novena to the Holy Spirit for a New Pentecost for the Church HD
- Day 3 - Novena to the Holy Spirit for a New Pentecost for the Church HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.