Aleteia

Why the Virgin Mary is a role model for all mothers

MADONNA AND CHILD
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Nothing is more beautiful and demanding than motherhood. Fortunately, mothers can count on the daily help of the Virgin Mary!

Like all children, Jesus needed his mother in order to become a man. The Virgin Mary did not merely nourish his body — she and Joseph taught Jesus everything. It was by looking at their faces, leaning over the crib, that Jesus learned how to laugh and smile. It was by listening to their conversations that the He learned how to speak. He who made a paralytic walk required the help of his parents to take his first steps. He who from the very start knew that He was the beloved Son of God needed his parents to teach him how to pray.

More importantly, He who is the immortal embodiment of love, engendered by the love of God the Father, needed his parents to learn how to love. It’s in observing how much they loved each other and Him that his own human heart grew big enough to embrace all of mankind, including the greatest of sinners. It’s in observing how Mary and Joseph faced adversity without a complaint – the flight to Egypt, the cruelty of their neighbors in Nazareth – that Jesus learned how to “submit” to the will of the Father, transforming this obedience  into his “food” (John. 4:34).

All mothers in the world are called to nurture, love, and educate men and women and bring them into the light, into the presence of Divine love. In this great endeavor, they can rely on the help and the example offered by the Mother of God.

Imitating the extraordinary faith of Virgin Mary

As they wake up their children, mothers can think of the Virgin Mary waking up Jesus to recite Shema, Israel: “Hear, O Israel! Adonai is our God! Adonai is One! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind!”

As they wipe their children’s tears, they can say that the Virgin Mary also consoled young Jesus and let him taste of the Father’s mercy. The only thing Mary didn’t need to teach Jesus was how to ask for forgiveness. But she made Him follow her example: to remain humble and preserve the heart from all evil. We can imagine her rocking Him to sleep, singing: “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits …” (PS:1)

Mothers can also imitate Mary’s extraordinary faith. When the angel announced to her that she would bring forth a child and remain a virgin, Mary believed the impossible, because “… no word from God will ever fail” (Lk 1:37). She, who had never asked Jesus to perform any miracles for 30 years, interceded on behalf of the newlyweds in Cana. And when Jesus asked her to let Him be, she persisted and told the servants: “Do whatever He tells you” (John. 2:5). The Virgin Mary helps all the mothers to be filled with awe that they too are special teachers for their children.

Pierre Descouvemont

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