Yesterday (May 12) was both the Solemnity of the Ascension and Mother’s Day. Though one is a Church feast and the other a National Holiday, there is much appropriateness to these falling on the same day. We focus often, and rightly so, to the annunciation when St. Mary said “yes” to God. I would venture to guess that while Mary was completely open to God’s plan she probably did not realize exactly what it would mean to her life. She said “yes” to God, and through that single word our Savior was brought into this world according to scripture.
However, consider Mary’s life beyond that initial “yes”. She was the vessel that carried into this world her Savior. She had to know on some level, to the extent her human nature could understand, that the child she gave birth to was her Savior and not only her Savior but the Savior to the world – past, present and future. Like most mothers, Mary’s love for her child was full and unconditional and I am sure there were many treasured moments that all mothers share. She must have looked on her Son with love and fulfillment when he took his first steps, when he gave her a hug or he came to her and she needed to wipe a tear from his face after falling down as a child. Pride would have filled her as he grew and hit many common milestones. From his bar mitzvah, to watching him learn a trade from his father in his workshop, and that moment every mother encounters when she realizes her Son has turned into a man.
She however saw uncommon milestones as well, for example His knowledge of scripture and his willingness to share that knowledge with others. When it was time for Jesus to begin His ministry it was Mary who saw to it that he went public. “Do as He says” she told the waiter at the Wedding Feast of Cana. Whether she fully understood what this meant to her son’s life I don’t know but she knew that this is what God wanted and again, she said “yes”. How difficult it must have been for her to live through those next years, and yet she never stopped saying “yes” to God. We know what her Son endured and we can only imagine what that felt like to her and yet she never asked God to stop. While it does not specifically say that in scripture it would be inconsistent with any of her actions we know of. No doubt she was proud of Him, and no doubt she suffered greatly as her Son was ridiculed at the least, and put to death at the worst
However I cannot imagine her joy after the Resurrection when God’s plan, the plan to which she continually said “yes”, culminated in the fulfillment of scripture and the realization of salvation. For us humans, Mary is our model. Her life on earth and her life in heaven point us always to her Son, Jesus, for our salvation. In this, she continues to say “yes” to God for the sake of the world, His creations.
Our mothers are precious to us, and precious to God. It is through them we are born, raised and nurtured. When our mothers do so in accordance with God we have a great foundation from which we form our lives and hopefully move constantly towards God. When we misstep, our mother’s usually know, and fret for us and continually love us. Please know that while women are central in God’s plan for the good of mankind, they are not expected to do it alone. As men, we must support our mothers and treat their sons and daughters as individual human beings, with dignity and respect. We are to live this example and always strive to be mindful of our role.
Please join me in wishing our Mothers a Happy Mother’s Day and praying for their continued strength through whatever difficulties they face.
Pat Rosmarin, Lecturer