I used to be the US Military Coordinator for the international ministry, Mother’s Prayers. It is a para-liturgical service in which we lay our children down at the feet of the crucified Christ and give up all our worry for them to God. We try really hard to remember that He loves our children in service so much more than we can fathom.
Whether it is those little helpless babies that are so dependent on us, or rebellious teenagers, or grown ups who should be, but are not always as mature as we wish them to be, spiritually or otherwise, they are still our children. That maternal love and wanting to protect and nurture a child is just a hint of Heaven’s love for each of us.
There are many wonderful things that come from placing that level of trust in God during the service.
The words that resonate the most with the women I talk to about Mother’s Prayers, and to me, are “laying your children at the foot of the Cross.” I think it’s because we can all visualize standing at the foot of the Cross.
How many times have we participated in the Stations of the Cross during our lives? How many times have we heard or sung the Stabat Mater?
At the cross, her station keeping…close to Jesus to the last.
We imagine Mary “weeping, mourning in this valley of tears,” as we profess in the Hail, Holy Queen prayer. And we are with her. As mothers ourselves, we don’t want to imagine Mary’s anguish as she witnesses the tortured death of her Child. And yet we are awed and amazed by the fact that God chooses this horrible, painful death out of His love for us. He loves us that much, He loves our children that much.
The Hope We Have
And in that terrible scene, we must recall the hope that is ours because of it all. While we certainly remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us every time we’re at Mass during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, during the Stations we often also focus on the sacrifice of Jesus’ mother. And we realize that she is our Mother, too. As we are the Body of Christ, Mary is the Mother of the Church, the feast day we celebrate today.
During the Mother’s Prayers service, after we write each child’s name on a white circle of paper, we kneel in front of a crucifix after placing them in a basket. It is a reminder of eternal realities. We physically place the names of our children, and so each child symbolically, at the foot of the Cross. We place them into Jesus’ care, into His merciful love that has no boundaries. Mary is with us there; her concern for each of our maternal worries endear us to her. She wants to intercede on our behalf out of her motherly understanding of our love for our children.
Mary Cares and Understands
Think back to Mary telling Jesus that the newlyweds have run out of wine. Really a social faux pas more than anything, but her mother’s heart compels her to tell her Son who she knows can make it right. She doesn’t know how; but she trusts. And Jesus will deny her nothing. That’s how involved Jesus will get in our lives, and His mother, too, evidently!
So, it’s important to bring our requests to the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church when we pray to God about our concerns, especially for our children. Contemplate what she had to endure during Christ’s Passion and Death. She once again had to trust Jesus and His obedience to the Father.
But she was also with her Son in the joyful moments, too; the pinnacle of which is Jesus’ Resurrection!
She is Our Confidant
How can we feel anything but comfort and gratitude for Jesus’ very existence? True God and true Man, deserving none of the punishment that is heaped upon Him, sullying His perfect, sinless Being with our sin. How can we ever doubt that our children’s salvation is a priority for Him? Of course it is. And how can we ever doubt that His mother won’t join us in petitions for the sake of her children? That’s all of us, all of us who make up the Body of Christ, including our own little ones, of course.
But she is the mother of young and old alike, no matter our situation in life, no matter our station. We must turn to our mother, the woman who Jesus, from the Cross, gives to John. In that instant, through blinding tears and grief too intense to understand, Mary beheld her Son dying on the Cross. Then John beholds his mother, our mother, the mother of Jesus and of the Church.
He is Our Comfort
This experience of Mother’s Prayers gives women great comfort. God loves our children with an infinite love. That reality is illuminated during the prayer service and it moves us deeper into our relationship with Him, allowing us to emphatically declare, “Jesus, I trust in You.”
It also allows us to ask Mary to join us in our prayers for our children. She will wrap her mantle around both of you, each child whose name you place at the foot of the Cross and around you, Mom. For you need her love and presence as much as any of her other children.
Surely it causes Jesus to smile when she tends to the needs of others, just as she did all those centuries ago at a wedding reception in Cana.Our Mother's Prayers #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Lynda MacFarland loves Jesus and her fondest desire is to encourage others in their faith journey toward Home. She prays often that the things she does will glorify God and advance His Kingdom. Lynda is the author of one book (so far!), Drowning In Lemonade: Reflections of an Army Wife. You can find out more about her here.