I love this feast day that honors the Blessed Virgin Mary under the aspect of her motherhood of Jesus. By virtue of her divine motherhood, Mary has become mother of us all. What an amazing gift that is.
Mary has been referred to as the first Christian, since she was the first one who opened her life and heart to Jesus by giving him her perfect yes. I love that we can call her by so many different names, such as: Mother of Love, Mother of Sorrow, Mother of Mercy, Mother most Holy, just to name a few. Sometimes I like to call her simply Mama Mary!
The Motherhood of Mary
For as long as I can remember I have loved Mary. But I have to say that my love and appreciation for her has blossomed since becoming a mother to my oldest daughter almost 18 years ago. I suddenly realized that if I wanted to become the best mom to my children, I had to call on Mary to help me with my motherhood. There have been countless times when, not knowing how to proceed, I have turned to Mary to supply her wisdom for my poor human deficiencies. Entrusting my family to her on a daily basis has become one of my favorite prayers.
Mary, who was conceived without the stain of Original Sin, did nothing to deserve this gift. She was simply chosen by God to merit this grace. God desires that His mercy triumphs through her as our mother. And just like a good Catholic mother, Mary desires to form all of us into another Christ. Her perfection and skills surpasses that of all earthly mothers.
Measuring Up in Motherhood
My own earthly mother, who has taught me so much of what I know, is someone I have a true admiration for as well as a stronger appreciation for now that I am a mother myself. My parents had all eleven of us in a fifteen-year span (that alone blows my mind).
Growing up in Brazil, I remember hearing people ask my mom why she and dad had so many kids. She would answer them with a question: “And which one of the eleven do you think I should have said no to?”
I have always seen my mom’s answer as a powerful testimony about children as a blessing and gift from God, each of us made in his likeness and for a special purpose.
I always knew I wanted to be a mom, but in the depths of my heart I had many anxieties about not being able to be as good of a mom as my mother was to me. Sometimes I feel burdened by my own insecurities and shortcomings and will assume that any struggle my kids are having is a reflection of my parenting. By God’s grace and with Mary’s help, I have learned that is not from the Lord. The evil one, who is a master manipulator and the father of all lies, would like nothing less than for us to feel inadequate in pretty much everything we do, motherhood included. That’s not to say that I haven’t made and will continue to make plenty of mistakes in mothering my children. However, I have come to learn and accept that God is ultimately my children’s true Parent. He loves them more than I can ever come close to loving them in my human weakness.
The Perfect Example of Holiness
Mary is a sublime and perfect example of holiness. She can aid us in becoming more like her. Just like Mary, all of us women have an enormous capacity for compassion, sacrifice, and so much more. I believe we all have a special role in God’s plan, just like Mary did. Saint John Paul II said it beautifully in Redemptoris Mater:
In the light of Mary, the Church sees in the face of women the reflections of a beauty which mirror the loftiest sentiments of which the human heart is capable: the self-offering totality of love; the strength that is capable of bearing the greatest sorrows; limitless fidelity and tireless devotion to work; the ability to combine penetrating intuition with words of support and encouragement.
I am always awed and deeply-inspired by our Blessed Mother’s courage as we see in the Gospel of Luke. God used the angel Gabriel to deliver His risky ministry invitation. He asked if she would be willing to be the mother of the Savior of the world. The young Mary knew that her yes to the Lord would mean risk of harsh judgment from others and of personal scandal. Still this brave young woman responded with, “May it be done to me according to your will.”
Following Mary’s Example
It is Mary’s example that I was trying to emulate when I felt God calling me to establish Healed and Restored, a much-needed nonprofit program to help women from all over the country heal from the deep wounds from the trauma of all types of abuse, including sex trafficking. And as I have seen many times before, God never gives us more than we can handle with Him and through His help. When He calls us to a certain mission, He always provides all that is necessary for us to accomplish His mission. I have learned that just like with Mary, the only thing God is looking for is our yes. Once we have given Him our yes, He takes care of all the details. The fact that God invited me to be a part of his plan is both humbling and encouraging.
I pray that 2022 will be the year that we will continue to learn how to best listen to God’s voice speaking to us in the midst of all the noise that surrounds us every day. May we, like Mary, open ourselves to say a confident yes to the Lord, even when what He’s asking is something completely different than what you thought He would ask of you.
You will be amazed at all the beautiful things He will do in you and through you—all for His Glory and to bring other souls to Him.
Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!