Everyone enjoys receiving a gift, especially from someone we love deeply. The greatest gift of all time was given to us in Mary, the Mother of God. Her son Jesus is the son of God and the Savior of the world.
Bernard of Clairvaux advises us: “In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Don’t let her name depart from your lips; never allow it to leave your heart. And that you may more surely obtain the assistance of her prayer, don’t neglect to walk in her footsteps.”
Mary gently takes us by the hand and leads us to Jesus. Mary was a laywoman, wife, and mother. She stood peerless in God’s plan. Her life was not easy. She gave birth to Jesus in a stable away from her home. Joseph and Mary were given brief notice about their need to escape to a foreign country. They lived under Roman oppression and knew what it was like to be poor. In her time, wives and mothers worked from dawn to dusk and beyond without electricity, gas or plumbing. Her life was rugged. She did not have any of the modern conveniences we take for granted.
When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to be consecrated to the Lord, a saintly old man, Simeon, said a sword would pierce Mary’s heart. Jesus was lost in a crowd for three days. Mary was a young widow and single parent. She stood by Jesus when he was tortured and crucified. It is impossible to imagine her anguish. Yet her untold pain never turned to resentment or bitterness against those who were responsible for Jesus’ death.
Mary teaches us to forgive and be forgiven, to look and overlook, to listen and be patient, to forget ourselves and give without strings attached.
Mary had a uniquely difficult and uniquely blessed life. Her life is the best example of what it means to be a courageous Christian. She always and forever points us toward her son who shows us the highest meaning of love. Mary takes us beyond our own strength as she guides us through the mysteries of life.
We are encouraged by her motherly gaze which inscribes on our heart that we are loved by God and will never be abandoned by him. In our times of great sorrow, Mary is our beacon of hope. She was completely open to grace. We look at Jesus on the cross and see the true source of life, forgiveness and salvation.
Indeed, Mary’s life on earth was difficult. However, because she has the unparalleled loving heart of a mother, she understands all our personal difficulties. She urges us forward to remake society through our own personal holiness. Isn’t this an inspiring challenge worthy of our commitment?
From my booklet: Our Gift from Mary available at www.lourdescenter.org