At My Mother’s Side

Kelli - madonna and child

Young children, from my experience, are practically fearless. Their vision of the world is both simple and fantastic. Take this tall tree we have smack dab in the middle of our backyard. When I look at it, in relation to them, I consider it as something from which they can fall whenever they try to climb it. They, on the other hand, very likely see it as a towering challenge they must scale in order to gain access to a perch of hawk-like perspective.

While I do not want my children to grow up in a bubble atmosphere of “Don’t do this, don’t do that!”, my motherly instinct to protect them from all possible harm comes out in full measure when I think or sense that they could hurt themselves. Admittedly, this is why I am not ideal to be with them at the playground. The killjoy in me hurriedly makes an appearance as I watch them swing, climb, run and jump all over the place. My husband is a great antidote to my penchant for putting a stop to our children’s need to move around and have fun. Suffice it to say he knows how to let them play well without agonizing over every little thing. Thank God for fathers!

Everybody and His Mother

In general, though, this natural concern for the welfare of her children is what keeps a mother on her toes, on the lookout for good and bad things. Such was the likely disposition of the mother of James and John – the sons of Zebedee – when she requested of Jesus,

Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.(Mt. 20:21)

“When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers.” (Mt. 20:24)

Perhaps if the mothers of the ten other disciples had been there when this request was made, they would have rushed to do the same for their own sons. Many mothers, who want the best for their children, can relate to this bold request.

Every single person has or had a mother. It is a universal human experience. Jesus is no different from us in this respect. He too has a mother – Mary – who bore and raised Him as any mother would her child. As an adult, Jesus spoke and acted with a natural love and compassion to those around Him, especially for those who were marginalized and scorned by others. It stands to reason that He was raised in a home rich in the same love and compassion He generously showed others.

Acts of Love and Compassion

Our Lord’s mercy and compassion moved Him to respond in ways, which are nothing short of miraculous. In a previous article, I wrote of the scene, which must have played out at the wedding in Cana to which Jesus and His mother had been invited. At her implied request (When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”), water was turned to very good wine. What could have been a source of embarrassment and ruined a joyous celebration became, instead, the occasion for Jesus’ first miracle.

In another instance, our Lord’s heart is moved to pity for a widow in the town of Nain, who mourns the death of her only son.

“When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.” (Lk 7:13-15)

Did the widow remind Jesus of His own mother? Did He perhaps consider when His own time on Calvary came, Mary too would be a widow crying for her only son? The tears of the widow of Nain were enough to move Him to perform the miracle of bringing the dead man back to life.

His Mother is Our Mother

His love for His mother is strong and steadfast. Hanging on the cross, suffering and in agony, Jesus remains a good Son:

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.” (Jn. 19: 26-27)

With His death impending, our Lord has entrusted Mary to the youngest apostle John, who receives her as his own mother – and ours! This woman who was called to be the Mother of God and who would certainly do anything for her Son is now our mother. How blessed we are to be able to call her our own with confidence!

This confidence comes from knowing we are children of our Father God. It is borne of the fact, which is – as with any good, loving mother – Mary cares for us and wants what is best. We know from the example of the wedding at Cana that she does not stand idly by when help is needed. She has the ear and the heart of her Son! With her at our side, we are in the company of a loving and powerful intercessor.

Litany of Love

Yet, we cannot be remiss in our own effort to show our heavenly mother our affection, for it is a rare mother who does not appreciate her child’s profession of love for her. It is not a matter of adoring or idolizing Mary, who is not God, but that of showing her the kind of affection a child rightfully showers on his or her mother. Certainly, Mary receives the attention and love we give her and re-directs it to her Son, without fail, as she instructed the servants in the wedding at Cana, “Do whatever he tells you.”

There are many beautiful prayers to Mary for her help and intercession. They are always wonderful reminders of the truth that she is the Mother of God, but invitations for we who are her children to turn to her with both human and supernatural trust. With October as the month of the Holy Rosary, I am reminded of the affection inspired by the Litany of Loreto, which has the “distinction of being one of only six litanies approved for public recitation by the Holy See”. Although it may seem repetitive, it is a loving echo of the various ways by which Our Lady is known to those who have taken her as their own mother, after Jesus’ invitation to do so on Calvary.

“How Do I Love Thee?”

Many times, listening to and considering each invocation in the litany is enough to jumpstart a prayer of contemplation. Holy Mary. Holy Mother of God. Mother of Christ. Mother of the Church. This is our mother we are talking about – how amazing is that! She is the Virgin most merciful, the Virgin most powerful. How is this possible? Once more, we must recall with gratitude and adoration the words of the Angel Gabriel to Mary, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Lk 1:37)

Mary is the gate of heaven; the morning star, health of the sick and refuge of sinners. As any mother would, she shelters those who come to her for comfort, solace and consolation. She is the comfort of the afflicted and help of Christians. She is our help. And she is a queen – our Queen conceived without original sin and assumed into heaven. She is the Queen of the family and of peace.

From Our Lips to Her Ears

When we pray the Litany of Loreto, it is as if we are whispering sweet things (not “nothings”!) into the ears of our beloved Mother. It is a loving reminder of how much she has loved us and continues to do so. We too show our love for her and, ultimately, through her for Jesus, as always. We call on her to remember she is all of this and much, much more, and her own Son gave her to us to be our mother – and we need her on our side always.

In the eyes of God, we are always His children. As such, we are called to do His most lovable will and to trust in His divine providence. Although we may not always know what to do or understand everything, which is going on in our lives, we can take courage in the fact our Mother in heaven wants to help us fulfill God’s will. With respect to living out and professing our faith, let us be confident in being “forever young” and fearless in the name of God, with Mary on our side.

“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much.

You can never love her more than Jesus did.”

St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe

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11 thoughts on “At My Mother’s Side”

    1. Recall, you deleted our last conversation when the truth got in the way of your so-called reconciliation.
      “Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: ‘You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see.'” Mt 13:14

  1. Dear Jeannette…..
    Thank you so much for your heartfelt reply. In nearly 2 years of going through an incredibly difficult situation of spiritual warfare, I found several things to be true. One of these is that when it is most needed, Our Heavenly Father, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, always brings a much needed grace. Your message means so much to me, and I would love to share a quick story with you. I recently attended a conference at which Fr Gaitley was the keynote speaker. I have read “33 Days” and it has meant so much to me. A good friend of mine was putting on the conference, and he arranged for Fr Gaitley and I to have a private lunch together. We spent about an hour together, and it was such a blessing.
    It was one of those graces that I mentioned before. Some days are so difficult, but each day I turn to Our Blessed Mother and ask for Her intercession.
    Thank you again for your incredibly encouraging message, Jeannette. May God bless you, and Our Blessed Mother watch over you.

    Hail Holy Queen
    Mother of Mercy
    Our life, our sweetness, and our hope.

    Dave

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  3. Luke 1:26-28:in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!”

    Luke 1:42:and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”

    Hail Mary, full of grace
    The Lord is with thee
    Blessed art thou amongst women
    And blessed is the fruit of thy womb,
    Jesus
    Holy Mary, Mother of God
    Pray for us sinners
    Now and at the hour of our death
    Amen.

    1. How do those two sentences from verses in Luke equate to Mary being assumed into heaven, that she was born without original sin, or that she is the gate of heaven, let alone pray to her for intercession?
      It would seem that there are other Bible verses which contradict these practices of the RCC.

  4. Paul wrote this:
    1 Timothy 2:1-6 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    A Call to Prayer
    2 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

    Where in the Bible do you find anything that supports your statements about Mary?

    1. Robert,
      There is plenty of recorded tradition about Mary since her time. As a matter of fact, Irenaeus was a student of Polycarp (regarded as a Lutheran Saint…although I’m leaning toward you being Jewish). Polycarp was the student of Mary’s “son” – John the Evangelist. Irenaeus wrote about Mary, as did Saint Jerome who wrote about the perpetual virginity of Mary. There is nothing new here.

      There is a 6th century painting of Mary in Saint Catherine’s Monastery. Mary is enthroned among the angels and saints. Nothing new here either.

      More recently, I would also suggest you read about Our Lady of Guadalupe (1895).

      Finally, since Gabriel’s word doesn’t seem to be good enough:
      Gen 3:15: [the Lord said to the snake], “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.”
      Gen 18:31: ‘Abraham went on, “Since I have thus presumed to speak to my Lord, what if there are no more than twenty [righteous people in Sodom]?” I will not destroy it, [God] answered’.
      Gen 20:17: “Abraham then interceded with God, and God restored health to Abimelech”
      2Kings 2:11: ‘As [Elijah and Elisha] walked on still conversing, a fiery chariot and fiery horses came between the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind’
      Like 2:51: ‘[Jesus] went down with [His parents] and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.’
      Rev 5:8: ‘When he took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones.’

  5. Dear Mrs Padolina…..
    Thank you for this encouraging article about Our Blessed Mother. Mine is a long story, but I’m currently reading “Total Devotion to Mary” by St Louis de Montfort. They call Our Mother the “Hope of Sinners” and say that Mary will never turn Her back on any sinner who turns to and is devoted to Her. I find myself, through a long and sinful life, in a place where I need Her intercession. Just wondering if it is your understanding that no matter how far we have strayed from God, Our Blessed Mother will never abandon us. I pray the Rosary each and every day and seek Our Blessed Mother’s intercession to Her Son.
    If I could ask, would you mind keeping me in your prayers? Thank you, and God bless you.

    1. Dave,
      You are on the right path. Stay the course with St. Louis de Montfort’s “True Devotion to Mary”. Everything that you write “They say” about is Truth. Not long ago, I stood in your shoes. Praise be to God most High, I am no longer there. It was a long road, but persevere my brother. Place your full trust in Our Mother. She will not abandon you, ever!
      Remember the following mantras, and hold them close to your heart:
      “To Jesus through Mary”; “Mary is the Answer”; “There is no sin greater than Our Lord’s Mercy.” The foregoing is Truth. In addition to de Montfort, please check out “33 Days to Morning Glory” by Fr. Michael Gaitley MIC … “The Diary of St. Faustina” … and the “Divine Mercy 101” DVD by Father Chris Alar MIC. The teachings of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception (MIC), an order of Catholic Priests, quite literally changed my life. Go to Marian.org, the MIC website and immerse yourself in all they have to offer. They are truly a Godsend! They are very much focused on “To Jesus Through Mary”. I will pray for you! You can do this! God Bless!

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