For more than forty years I have been honouring my mother on Mothers’ Day, yet it has never really occurred to me to
honour the woman who is both perfect mother and heavenly mother: Mary.
She truly is ‘blest among women’ for she surpasses all the wonderful and loving contributions made to my life by many earthly mother figures, including my own biological mother who loved me and raised me to adulthood. She alone has a unique ‘eternal’ perspective when it comes to the challenges and dramas of my life. When I am overwhelmed, discouraged or locked in a battle of wills with a rebellious teenager, earthly mother figures can certainly provide support and counsel. None however, come close to the spiritual nourishing I can receive from Mary.
I know this intellectually, but emotionally I tend to keep my distance. For example, I still approach her as ‘Mary’. In almost every culture, children call their mothers by an affectionate name rather than her given name. Mum, Mom, Mama, Mam, Mummy, Maiter, Ma, Ema, Nay etc. As a child it was ‘Mummy’ who provided me with maternal comfort. When the kids at school teased me, I sobbed my heart out in ‘Mummy’s’ arms. When I grazed my knee while my parents were on holiday, it was ‘Mummy’ for whom I pined. Whenever I have needed reassurance and consolation, she was always ‘Mummy’ rather than ‘Mum’ or ‘Margie’. It gets me thinking… maybe I should try the same with Mary?
Here are some ideas that I’ll be trying this month to bring Mother Mary more powerfully and personally into my life. Will you join me?
Mum my Prayers
Jesus says ”I bless you Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children.” (Mt 11:25). Sometimes, we have to approach prayer with childlike innocence and humility. Pray to Mary calling her ‘Mummy’ (or whatever is your childhood term of affection). If you find this a bit weird, don’t give up. Experiment till you find a name that fits comfortably. The key is to let Mary mother you as little child and don’t be too hasty to grow up! There’s plenty of time to develop an adult relationship with her after you set a foundation of spiritual ‘babyhood’.
Meditate on the Nativity
Christmas always evokes strong childhood memories. This also makes it a good place to go for healing of emotional wounds from our childhood. Close your eyes and imagine yourself as a small child there at the scene of the Nativity, looking in on Mary, Joseph and Jesus. In your imagination, approach Mary and allow her to embrace you, comfort you and heal the wounds in your soul.
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart – 30th May
This is a feast that is all about the tender love of God. Heart spirituality calls us into a deeper awareness of the personal love that Jesus and his mother have for us. Try ‘translating’ traditional Marian Prayers, such as the Hail Mary, the Hail Holy Queen, the Angelus, or the Litany of Saints into more personal and natural language, the way you might speak with your earthly mother. For example, instead of ‘Hail Mary’ you might say, ‘Hello Mama’. Instead of ‘Queen of Peace, pray for us’, try ‘Queen of my peace, pray for me’.