Praying with Mary through May: The Heart of a Mother

Throughout the month of May, we will be sharing posts focused on journeying alongside the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Share your experiences in the comments or on social media using #praywithmary.

He said to His mother: “Woman, behold your Son.”

On Good Friday, I reflected on Jesus and the pain and suffering that His mother must have experienced alongside the cross with Jesus. We know the relationship between a mother and her child is strong, and it is one that even the bonds of death cannot break. We find it difficult to imagine the thoughts that were flowing through Mary’s mind and the intense hurt that pierced her heart. It is not simple imagery to picture Mary at the foot of the cross watching her son die, knowing that He chose to be nailed and placed up on that cross because it was the will of His father.

There were few words exchanged between Jesus and His mother, but we know that their emotional bond as mother and son was so strong and powerful that there were not many words that needed to be said. A precious relationship between a mother and a child is so intimate in nature that it is difficult to even describe in such a way that captivates its true essence.

As I spent the day in silence I thought about my relationship with my own mother, how it is true that the relationship between a mother and a child is so beautiful and at the same time mysterious. There are many times we say few words to one another, but we know how the other is feeling. It is this enigmatic bond between a mother and her child.

When I first divulged my vocation to religious life to my mother, I found it very hard to choose the correct words. I didn’t say too much that day to her in church, but she looked at me and we cried together. There were few words needed because as a mother and a daughter we understand how the other is feeling without saying too much at all. Sometimes words just cannot captivate the true emotion that radiates from our soul so we make a decision to remain silent. Mary waited patiently in silence as she hoped for the Spirit to appear to the apostles at Pentecost and for their hearts to become open in prayer as my mother and I hoped for our hearts to become open to one another.

I think back to last year on this same day when I was working on a poem for my mother trying to include her experience as the mother of an almost thirty-year old woman preparing to enter religious life. I know it has not been easy for her, and she has had a difficult time hearing the words out loud. She had asked me to write a poem for her, and at first I was not sure how to even begin because again she has not expressed her feelings to me in such significant detail. But then I realized that as my mother even though she has not said these words to me to express her feelings, as her daughter I have simply known how she has felt this entire time.

After finishing the poem, I was hesitant to show it to my mother because I did not want to upset her since majority of the time she had become uncomfortable whenever I brought up me entering into the monastery soon or talking about the Sisters. That night was different though because not only did she read it, but I think she was finally able to come to terms with how she felt. She knew that no words needed to be spoken because as her daughter I understand what she is going through, and her feelings were finally written out in black bold type. And I think my mother found peace in my decision because she wrote back to me “I’m going to be the mother of an amazing future nun.”

I’m Christina Sorrentino, a Benedictine Postulant of Saint Walburga Monastery in Elizabeth, New Jersey. She blogs at Called to Love – A Listening Heart.

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