On the feast of the Immaculate Conception I read an article which really struck me. It explained how we often assume that being born free from sin would have made life easier for Mary, but in actual fact it would have made it infinitely harder! Her capacity for compassion and mercy is so much greater than we can possibly imagine, meaning that even though she never suffered the effects of personal sin, the pain she felt at seeing others suffer in that way was equally unimaginable.
The extent of that pain makes Mary’s constant ‘Yes’ to God even more incredible. It wasn’t limited to a pretty story about a young girl and an angel – she remained obedient amidst the judgement, uncertainty and inevitable suffering that came with being the mother of the Messiah. Yet through her humility she was blessed with so much grace…
Mary held the baby Jesus in her arms. SHE HELD GOD IN HER ARMS!! Can we even imagine that? Think of the love she had for her child combined with the love she had for the Lord, directed at the same tiny infant simultaneously, and it’s amazing that she managed to contain it! It’s for that reason that, with His dying words, Christ entrusted us to His mother – “Behold your mother.” Her love is uncontainable and overflowing, and she pours it into each one of us with the sole purpose of leading us to her Son’s Divine Mercy. As such she is our mother, as well as the Mother of God.
Mary is the ultimate model of femininity and nurturing love, and so I continually learn so much about motherhood in particular from her – both physical and spiritual. In her we see most fully the tenderness, service and strength that we’re all called not only to practise but to teach. Her acceptance of God’s will was life-giving, self-sacrificial, and ultimately enabled our redemption through Jesus.
As women – with Mary as our guide – we, too, are called to be Christ-bearers. Through our receptivity to Christ we can also deliver Him to the world around us in our words, our witness and simply our way of life. As Mary mothers us, we can learn to be mothers to those who need us the most.
I didn’t always appreciate what a great gift we’ve been given in our Blessed Mother, though. When I first began writing this blog back in 2013, someone suggested that I dedicate it to Our Lady. My honest reaction was ‘Why?’ As much as I loved the idea of a devotion to Mary, I didn’t fully understand it.
Needless to say it surprised me when, just a couple of months later, I discovered St Louis de Montford’s process of total consecration to Jesus through Mary and felt inexplicably drawn to it. It took several months of growing intensely in my understanding of and relationship with Mary, but I eventually felt God urging me to complete the consecration.
I chose the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (1st January) as my consecration date, which was already symbolic for me because of everything she’s taught me about motherhood. But the most beautiful thing was that this also meant my 33 day preparation coincided perfectly with the final month of Mary’s pregnancy. I was able to journey with the woman who has taught me about the grace, beauty and sacrifice that are wrapped up in motherhood, through the final weeks of waiting for the birth of Jesus, then make my consecration on what was not only the feast of her motherhood, but also the first day of the new year – in front of the Blessed Sacrament in my favourite chapel: St Mary’s. I love it when Jesus brings things together in ways I couldn’t possibly predict, and I don’t think it could have possibly felt more blessed!
Mary, Mother of God… Pray for us!