Love Your Mother 

My sister has an image of the Blessed Mother on her kitchen counter, near the sink. During a visit, it caught my eye and I remarked to her how beautiful I thought it was. “Yes,” she said, slightly wincing, “whenever I look at it, I think about how much better I need to be doing.” 

The month of May is the month of Mary, the Mother of God and the greatest of all His creatures. Every baptized Christian should have, or should desire to have, an intense devotion to Our Lady. It’s very important, because she plays a central role in our relationship with her Son. It was God’s will that Our Savior come to us through the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was in her womb that God became man, the sacred event which we call the Incarnation. And He shares her with us by making her our mother as she stood below watching Him suffer for our salvation on the cross. Just as He came to us through her, it seems Our Lord wants us to go to Him through her. 

Bishop Erik Varden writes that “the Incarnation was about the sanctification of what’s most ordinary.” And so, my sister’s placement of the image of Our Lady in the kitchen by the sink was a brilliant idea. We can imagine the Blessed Mother working hard in the kitchen, preparing meals and keeping things in order. We can imagine her getting water from the town well, washing and mending clothes, living what seemed to be an unremarkable life. But because she was filled with the Holy Spirit since the moment of her conception, everything she did, she did in the state of grace. We call this stable presence of the Holy Spirit within the human soul the “indwelling of the Holy Spirit,” and it transforms the quality of human action. It makes it possible for us to become holy through our works in a way that is impossible without grace.  Because she was always united to the Lord in grace, through these simple acts of service that she did out of love for Jesus and Joseph, Our Lady was actively participating in Our Lord’s redemption of the world and her own sanctification. This is something she desires to help us to do. And we need her help because, unlike her, we receive this indwelling not at our conception, but at our baptism. Unlike her, our real and daily struggle with the effects of Original Sin makes discipleship hard for us, because our default setting is selfishness, not loving sacrifice. She is our greatest ally in the struggle for sanctity, for the gospels reveal that her desire is always to do the will of God and to be attentive to the needs of others. We think of how she went to care for her cousin Elizabeth who was in need, and how she went to Jesus when she noticed the predicament of the newlyweds at the wedding feast at Cana. 

She does that for us, too. She is the model disciple, yes, but she is more than that. She is our mother. She is tender consolation; she is light, grace, and joy. She reminds us that our lives are not really about “being better,” but more about being holy, becoming more like Jesus. Thanks to the Incarnation, we can do that through our ordinary lives in grace. If we want a tender relationship with the Blessed Mother, there is no better way than to adopt the habit of saying a daily rosary. It’s a powerful prayer that we can say as we drive kids to school or sports, while we fold laundry or wash dishes, or with one’s spouse before settling in to watch the news at night. We need her to help us make Christ visible to the world through our lives of quiet fidelity, just as her “yes” to God first made Him visible to the world through the Incarnation. 

posted 5/6/23

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: