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Fr. Paul Schenck Reflects on the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God

By Fr. Paul Schenck
January 2nd, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In order to win us back to himself, to "reclaim" us and restore us in love, God chose to become one of us, to know us up close and personal. He "descended" into our world - with us, beside us. Just as each of us begins with our mothers, and that is a hugely important aspect of our personal identity, of our personal experience: it's simply and essentially human to have our mothers

HARRISBURG,PA. (Catholic Online) - Mary is called, "Mother of God" - something Catholics simply "accept": one of the most comforting and reassuring prayers we pray is, "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen"

We know Mary as our Mother in faith, spouse of the Holy Spirit and Mother of our Savior, and that's comforting and reassuring.  But, when you think about it, it's really a rather radical and dramatic assertion to say that God - the source of existence and sustainer of everything in the universe, has a "mother": that's just something we really don't think about. How is it that God has a Mother?

Let's "connect the dots": God is on mission to recover human beings, the supreme objects of His love. He made man and woman in His image and likeness, but lost us when we chose to fulfill our own desires instead of His plans for us. We turned our backs on our Father and Maker, and lost His helpful Presence in our lives: we were a broken family.

Everybody knows that its next to impossible to turn your back on your mother. Even when you've had a tough mother, or a terrible mother, its hard to turn your back on her. Your Mother not only "produced you", more importantly she nurtured you and nursed you, physically and spiritually.

So, how is it God that has a Mother?

In order to win us back to himself, to "reclaim" us and restore us in love, God chose to become one of us, to know us up close and personal. He "descended" into our world - with us, beside us. Just as each of us begins with our mothers, and that is a hugely important aspect of our personal identity, of our personal experience: it's simply and essentially human to have our mothers (just think of how many mothers of important people we've known).

We know about the President and First Lady's mothers, I remember as far back as Jimmy Carter's mother! Lots of celebrities introduce their mothers. Why? Because we know Moms know more about their children than anybody else does, and we instinctively sense that we can learn more about a person through their moms.

Should it surprise us then, that we can learn more about God through the woman He chose for His Mother?

If we have a hard time seeing Almighty God as tenderly loving and caring for us, forgiving and accepting us - even when we do wrong - just look at His Mother.

"Stabat Mater": the suffering Mother.

When each of our children was born, when the twins and our youngest had pneumonia and our grown son was diagnosed with a chronic life threatening disease... That life force within Mom kicked into overdrive and overcame the competition!

But even when Mother can't overcome death, her tender love and presence eases the anguish and envelopes death in a protective embrace. There's no deeper sadness than a mother losing her child, and Mary knows that sadness.

Mary's Motherhood shows us that every life is a gift and to be cherished. That her Son would die shows us too that no death is meaningless, even of a child - the loss of a child has a deep and profound meaning which emphasizes the preciousness and fragility of each of our lives and the absolute necessity of our loving and caring for one another.

So what do we learn about God from His Mother?

God is love. Not an abstract love, but intensely personal love, a Parent-child love.

Assisted by His Mother's love and longing He seeks His lost children and brings them home. He embraces us even when we rebel against Him.

We should do what He says; His Mother knows it's the right thing to do. (At Cana she said: "Do whatever He tells you") That this was said at a wedding makes it doubly significant. Mary, Joseph and Jesus set the example for married and family life!)

Since God is Eternal, so, now, is His Mother, and her tender motherly care is forever available to us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

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Fr. Paul Schenck, a Priest of the Diocese of Harrisburg, PA., is the founding Director of the National Pro-Life Center (NPLC) on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Center gives the Justices of the Supreme Court, their high level staff, members of the federal judiciary, members of the US Senate and other public policy makers the information, education and inspiration they need to better form their consciences so they will make better decisions. He is a Champion of the Pro-Life movement.

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