One of my favorite books as a young girl was Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman. I have always enjoyed reading, and this is a book I like to read to my children over and over again. I’m not sure what exactly drew me to this particular story when I was younger. Perhaps it was the simple illustrations, the basic words, or the exciting storyline. In the book, a young bird is searching for his mother. He goes on quite an adventure and ends up safe and sound back in the nest to be united with his mother.
In my life, there have been times when my mother-figures really hit the ball out of the park. And there have also been times when they really dropped the ball. We all need a mother. And since our mothers are human, they don’t always get it right. I am fortunate enough to be able to take a look back and a look around and find out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to mothering. The humbling part comes when I realize that I also do not always get it right.
It seems that some women are naturals. Comforting, nurturing, patient, gracious, warm, and all the other qualities we associate with mothering. But for some of us, these qualities don’t come as easily. Our growth is sometimes slow. At the same time, motherhood is something each of us needs in this life, and something each of us as women are called to. Whether or not we become biological mothers, we are all called to the vocation of spiritual motherhood. If you’re like me and need a little help sometimes, I have found someone we can turn to.
“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.” (John 19:26-27) Mary, the Mother of God, is also our Mother in the order of grace (Catechism of the Catholic Church 967-970).
Growing up Protestant, I rarely gave Mary a second thought save during the Christmas play at church. But when I became a mother, I knew I needed a guide to follow after. It was during my Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults that I finally came to a greater understanding of her role, not only in the Church, but also in my life as well.
During our RCIA session dedicated to Mary, we watched a clip of the video series Catholicism, and in conjunction with our readings and discussion I finally opened my heart to my true Mother. In his book Catholicism, Father Robert Barron (now Bishop Barron) states “She is the one through whom Jesus continues to be born in the hearts of those who believe.” This simple sentence changed my entire perspective. I knew that if I were the only soul, Jesus would still have suffered and died for me. And by a similar token, as the Christ-bearer, Mary would have brought Him forth. Finally, I had received an answer to the question I didn’t even know I was asking: are you my mother?
Yes, yes, Mary is my mother. And if the Mother of God is also my mother, then I have found the freedom to aspire to motherhood as well. Knowing that she is beside me, that I can follow where she leads – which is always straight to Jesus – then I am joining countless others on this journey to true motherhood. And so I can truly look back and look around, and finally look up to our Blessed Mother, the channel through which the grace of Christ flows. I can take another step forward on this path of mothering.
I have found my mother, have you?
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