Walking Our Faith: A new Mother’s Day
Walking Our Faith
On Tuesday I told Mom I hadn’t settled on a topic. She replied, “Mother’s Day is Sunday, but don’t write about me this year. You write about me too much.”
Instead, Mom wanted me to write about Mary, the Mother of God, specifically this quote: “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
It’s always interesting to me what we remember, the snippet of a poem or a Bible verse that sticks in our mind for a reason that is perhaps buried in our subconscious but has some important truth to tell us if we will spend a moment or two meditating on it. What can we know of Mary’s heart in this moment? What can we learn from what little is known of Mary’s life, that will help us to understand and honor our own mothers?
I listened to a 20-minute talk given by Mother Teresa, now known as St. Teresa of Calcutta, describing events in the life of Mary as we know them from the Bible. I discovered Mary not only gives us an appreciation of what our mothers provide throughout our lives, but also by following Mary’s example, we can become better husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, neighbors and friends.
Mary surrenders herself for a greater cause. “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done unto me according to your word.” (Luke 1:35)
When the angel Gabriel visits Mary to announce that she will become the mother of Jesus Christ the Messiah, her reaction is one of agreement even at this life-changing event. How often do we show the same courage and trust in God’s will when we face events which derail our perfect plan for our future?
Mary shares the humiliation of others and acts to change their circumstances.
The wedding at Canaa is considered the moment of Jesus’ first miracle but it’s also an example of Mary’s compassion. Mary and Jesus were attending a wedding of a young couple when the hosts ran out of wine. Mary asks her son to help them by providing new wine so that this young couple will not be humiliated in front of their wedding guests.
This is a beautiful example of Mary not only empathizing with the humiliation of others, but instead of using their embarrassment as fodder for gossip, she acts with compassion to solve the problem. At first Jesus turns down her request, but in the end her persistence is rewarded.
Mary is not ashamed to claim her son when others have abandoned him.
When we meet Jesus as he is suffering on the cross before his death and resurrection, hung by nails at his wrists and feet, who is there? All but one or two of his disciples have deserted him, but Mary his mother, and Mary Magdalene remain. And in this tragic moment, we see an example of what all mothers may face at one moment or another. A time when everyone else has turned their back on a child, perhaps now an adult, who has become lost in drugs or alcohol, perhaps homeless or serving time in jail for a terrible crime. And it is only a mother’s love which remains steadfast, a beacon of hope for that child, their last remnant of love.
“Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
We come to this final and perhaps most mysterious quote about Mary. We are told that when the shepherds came to honor the birth of Christ, as everyone around her was exclaiming this great event, Mary silently pondered these things in her heart.
Perhaps the greatest challenge of being a mother, even in our so-called modern times, is to carry the multiple roles of mother, wife, caretaker, breadwinner, and to sometimes have no one to share this with, when we become tired of being everything to everyone.
This morning I caught a snippet of a live broadcast on Instagram by Rachel Hollis a New York Times’ best-selling author and entrepreneur. She was discussing how in the early days of her business she would be at the office at 8 o’clock in the morning and not home until 7 o’clock at night.
As a result she would sometimes receive “snarky” notes from other mothers because she couldn’t be there for classroom events and how this could cause feelings of guilt and conflict as you are trying to build a career that will make life better for your children, yet at the same time receive a message that you’re doing so at the expense of spending time with your children.
And it occurred to me that this is the same message my mother, and other women like her, received 60 years ago when she was beginning her career. It made me sad that 60 years later, despite how much women have achieved, this message persists.
My hope is we can look to examples from Mary’s life when we need to be reminded how complex and incredible a mother’s life can be. And look to Mary for examples of trusting God, acting with compassion and fidelity for the hurting, and this can make us all better individuals as we walk this path together.
Suzanne lives in Breckenridge. Her books are available at Next Page Books and Nosh in Frisco and the Tattered Cover in Denver.
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