In the Order of Grace, Mary Is Truly Your Mother
‘Jesus is Mary’s only son, but her spiritual motherhood extends to all men whom indeed he came to save.’ (CCC 501)
“All we’re asking for are miracles,” a friend commented while lighting a candle at the National Shrine of the Miraculous Medal in Perryville, Missouri. Her sentiments are expressed by so many today in different ways as they seek to heal what would have been seen as the impossible in American society just even 10 years ago. Family bonds have deteriorated or become loosened, while politically our country becomes increasingly divided and discouraging to everyone, even if in different ways.
But in the middle of it all remains a mother, the Blessed Mother, willing to take all of our problems into her hands and give them to God, while letting us rest our heads on her motherly shoulders.
The miraculous medal shrine in Perryville is just one such place providing a respite from the outside world while allowing anyone, Catholic or not, to just go home to his or her mother, if only for a few minutes.
Traveling back from a day of tourist attractions in St. Louis, my friend and I were refreshed by simply sitting quietly in the main chapel and unloading at the end of a busy day all of our joys and fatigue into our mother’s lap. The Perryville shrine has become “Mom’s house” especially for my friend as she travels to and from the Midwest and her new home in the South. It is a place where one can always feel at home.
A recent visit to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help near Green Bay, Wisconsin, inspired similar feelings of being at home with my mother, the Mother of God, in a rapidly changing society outside. The peace on the site was palpable particularly at the spot of the vision of Mary, currently the only apparition site approved by the Vatican here in the United States. As much as it would be so wonderful to travel to Lourdes or Fatima, it is a joy to be at a place where the Blessed Mother appeared not far from home for many of us here in the U.S.
The statue of Mary at the apparition site of Our Lady of Good Help is welcoming and strengthening as she is viewed with the many glowing petition candles surrounding her and the pews filled with her many, diverse children coming home to talk to Mom.
She is there with arms open in a quiet setting, willing to listen to her children speak in their prayers.
In a world that is so contentious and problematic, aren’t visits to such Marian sites even more beneficial? Don’t we all now need to be reminded of the words of Christ from the Cross, “Behold your mother?” How many need a mother today, whether in the literal sense or at least from a spiritual perspective?
Taking time to be near Mary is also an opportunity for women to be encouraged by her to become spiritual mothers to those around us when we leave “Mom’s house” and return to the outside world. I can learn from Mary’s example of her care and concern for the many adopted sons and daughters that she has by being that “Mom” to those around me who have no one else. Who could use a telephone call? Who wants a visitor? Who needs a birthday party? Mary teaches me to be that person for other people.
And such motherly training takes place imperceptibly at these and other local Marian shrines where our mother’s love is bestowed in an environment of comfort and strength.
One of my fondest memories of Mary is a Mother’s Day card placed in front of the statue of Mary in a local Catholic church. Let’s go home to our Mother, to be loved and in return share our love with her! Let’s give our problems to Mom at home over the family table, the altar, and know that she is ready to love and teach us all how to love again!