“Can’t wait to get home! Guess you can take the mommy out of the home, but you can’t take the home out of the mommy,” I texted my husband and kids while flying home from my last speaking engagement.
Travel is a mixed blessing for me. I love being in new places, and I certainly love the people, but I love home best. A mommy’s heart, I suppose, is always just that – a mommy’s heart.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that during October, the month the church dedicates to the holy rosary. In particular, I’ve been contemplating the mysteries of the rosary in relation to Mary’s motherhood. Of course that means her motherhood in regard to our Lord, but also it means her motherhood in regard to you and me. In fact, it includes her motherhood in regard to all of humankind.
I wonder if she re-experiences the various mysteries as she watches the signs of the times unfolding. One only has to scan the news media to see that there is violence, political upheaval, family discord and financial crises in many parts of the world.
On the other hand, there is much good occuring. Congregations are gathering for prayer and liturgy, couples are receiving the sacrament of matrimony, babies are being baptized, youth are being confirmed, priests are being ordained, modern-day Good Samaritans are reaching out…. The list could go on and on and on.
Does the Blessed Mother again experience the Annunciation when she sees someone convert, or re-vert, to the Catholic faith? That, too, is a conception of sorts – Jesus is “conceived” in that person’s heart and I can imagine that brings Our Lady great joy.
Does she re-live the Nativity when a couple brings home their newly-baptized infant? Perhaps she again senses that maternal warmth and protectiveness as she did in the stable of Bethlehem.
Is it like once again being in the Upper Room, observing the tongues of fire and listening to the howling wind of the Holy Spirit, when she attends a parish confirmation? Surely her heart again rejoices at the Spirit’s approach.
And, when a soul passes from this world to the next, does she fondly remember the Resurrection and excitedly prepare herself to welcome the new member of the church triumphant?
I can imagine these things and more as my fingers deftly move over the beads during my daily rosaries. The church teaches that Mary is our mother in the order of grace, meaning that she spiritually conceived and gave birth to us when she conceived and gave birth to her son.
“Her role in relation to the church and to all humanity goes still further.
‘In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Savior’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace,’” we read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#968).
What’s more, Mary’s motherhood continues in every aspect of our lives and for all eternity. The catechism notes, “This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation…. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix” (CCC #969).
During October, perhaps we can make a resolution to discover and deepen our relationship with Mary as our mother. We can do this by meditating on the various aspects of her motherhood while saying a daily rosary slowly and with deliberation.
Just like my human motherhood, we can say of Mary’s divine motherhood, “You can take the mommy out of the home, but you can’t take the home out of the mommy.” Whether we’re aware of her presence in our lives or not, Mary cannot help but be a true and faithful mother to us, because that is her God-given mission for this world.
(Fenelon, a mother of four, and her husband, Mark, belong to St. Anthony Parish, Milwaukee. Visit her Web site: < HYPERLINK “http://www.margefenelon.com” www.margefenelon.com.)