Behold Your Mother: Mothers Day and the Gift of Mary, the Mother of the Lord
Jesus gave us His mother
"When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home." (John 19:26, 27) This tender scene speaks to us of the depth of the Love which inspires, informs and transforms all human love. Jesus gives us His Mother. Happy Mothers Day.
Mary, the Mother of the Lord and our Mother
CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - It is Mothers Day and our hearts and minds turn to the woman who gave us life and showed us the beauty of steadfast love throughout our lives. This year, the secular celebration of Mothers day falls on the same day when, on the Roman Catholic Liturgical Calendar, we commemorate a Feast of the Mother of God appearing under her title, Our Lady of Fatima. This gives us an opportunity to reflect again on Motherhood.
Motherhood is a gift from the Lord. It is our mother who gave us life. It is the Mother of the Lord who continues to give us the gift of the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Each year as we express the gratitude we all feel for our earthly mother, I am also drawn to reflect on one of the last gifts the Lord gave to us before his total gift of Himself on the Cross, the gift of a mother. And, not just any mother, but His own Mother, Mary. May is the month dedicated to Mary, the Mother of the Lord. Again, no coincidence at all.
Christian Art and the writings of the Tradition of the Church are filled with reflection on the profound mystery and implications of this gift of a Mother named Mary to the Church. Even those Christians who are a part of the traditions flowing from the Protestant reformation, who, for so long have viewed this gift of Mary as a problem rather than a treasure, are beginning to reconsider the implications of this gift.
Many years ago I was an invited guest at a celebration of the life and ministry of an evangelical Protestant leader. It was a black tie affair, accompanied with all the fanfare. I was one of only a few Catholics who attended the event and I was glad to be there to pay tribute to this man. Back then, evangelical and Catholic collaboration was not all that common. Thank God, things have changed.
At the end of the evening, Reverend Jack Hayford gave the concluding tribute, address and prayer to conclude the nights' festivities. Pastor Hayford's message, (to the surprise of some present), was that we are living in, what he called a Mary Moment. With genuine insight he broke open the meaning of the life and mission of the Mother of the Lord as a model for all in that room and beyond who wanted to follow her Son Jesus.
He offered the life of Mary as a model for all Christians. He encouraged all those present to follow her way of simplicity, humility and obedience. He emphasized the particular words spoken by Mary at the Wedding Feast of Cana when, after imploring her Son to perform His first public miracle (ah, the powerful intercession of a mother!) she directed those who were serving to: Do whatever He tells you. In this message, he was participating in what the early fathers of the Church did so often and so beautifully, breaking open the deeper mystery of Mary as a gift to - and type of - the Church.
Over the years, this kind of recovery of the significance of the life and witness of Mary has touched many Christians. For Catholic and Orthodox Christians, it has always been at the heart of our understanding the meaning of the mission of the Church. Catholics and Orthodox honor Mary as the Mother of the Lord, the woman singularly chosen in the eternal plan of God to be called "mother" by Jesus, to bear God Incarnate in her womb for nine months and then to give Him to the whole world.
That womb of that mother was a temple of glory, an ark of the Covenant and a new tent of meeting where heaven touched earth! We also refer to the Church as Mother. The early Christians saw the Baptismal font as a second womb from which we are born into the communion of the Church, the New israel, the new family of God.
Mary was also a real mother who was privileged to, (along with Joseph), raise the One who lived within her for nine months after He was born. In her presence and with her human influence, the biblical texts tell us He "grew in wisdom and stature" in His Sacred humanity.(Luke 2:52) Think about the wonder of all of this on this Mothers Day.
In the undivided Church, East and West, for the first 1,000 years, devotion to and love of Mary was a shining light of the profound prayers, reflections and writings of the Christian Church.When one probes the lives of Augustine of Hippo, Bernard of Clairveaux, Therese of Liseux, the late Theresa of Calcutta and so many others within the western Christian tradition, including even Martin Luther, one finds this kind of love for and devotion to Mary. The words of Martin Luther express it with such simple clarity: "Men have crowded all her glory into a single phrase: The Mother of God. No one can say anything greater of her."
Jesus called her Mother and he entrusted her, as one of his last and greatest gifts to his beloved disciple and to the entire Church with these tender words of entrustment in the Gospel of John: When Jesus saw his mother and the ...
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