Mary, Model of Motherhood


(photo: Pixabay)

Happy Mother’s Day to Mary, the mother of Jesus.

I often think about the enormous responsibility taken on by Mary, when, as cited in Luke (1:38), she responded to the angel who appeared to her with a resounding, “Yes.”

“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”

Her response was remarkable in that she didn’t even hesitate.

When I taught CCD classes to high-school students, we discussed the critical role Mary played in salvation. I would ask them to imagine what she went through: “Put yourself in the place of Mary. How would you feel? Maybe a little overwhelmed? Definitely afraid?”

It was interesting listening to their responses. A few of them mentioned that she was very holy and this is why she was so willing and eager to be the Mother of God.

Others commented that it must have been a hard thing to be believed by her family when she explained she was with child by the power of the Holy Spirit. Still others commented that the story of Mary giving birth to Jesus is a story of faith. “You either believe or you don’t.”

Ultimately, Mary has provided us with the ultimate role model of a loving mother.

When I became a mother I experienced pure joy.

When you first hold your baby, you have a feeling of unconditional love that is overwhelming; it’s like no other feeling you’ve ever experienced before. In every painting of the Mother of God we see that same expression: Mary wears the look of unconditional love. Thus Mary is our example of this unconditional love we have as mothers.

In the Gospels, Mary is with Jesus for the important moments of his life. She experienced the sorrow of watching the murder of her son — think of the Pietà

Then she felt indescribable joy when Jesus rose from the dead. She understands well the joys and sorrows of earthly mothers and always encourages us to look heavenward.

When Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous at the Grotto of Massabielle, her messages at Lourdes were of prayer and hope: “I do not promise to make you happy in this world, but in the other world. Wherever love exists, God is present.”

And think of the hope conveyed through Our Lady of Fatima 100 years ago this month. 

Throughout history, Mary continually gives meaningful messages because she loves all of us as a mother loves her children — she is our heavenly mother. She wants all of us to experience heaven.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day, we should think upon our true role model of motherhood: Mary, the mother of Jesus. What a true gift of love she continually gives us in her Son.

Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh writes from Hillsboro, Oregon.

Edward Reginald Frampton, “The Voyage of St. Brendan,” 1908, Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, Wisconsin.

Which Way Is Heaven?

J.R.R. Tolkien’s mystic west was inspired by the legendary voyage of St. Brendan, who sailed on a quest for a Paradise in the midst and mists of the ocean.