Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Mother's Day

December 8 marks the feast of the Immaculate Conception, when we Catholics put aside our fretting over bingo covers long enough to reflect on the creation of the stainless soul of the Mother of God. Mary is specially graced, but I think it's safe to assume that she doesn't remember this event. If she does, she would likely reflect upon it as a somewhat uncomfortable surprise-- just like everything else in her life.

The Blessed Mother was an everyday peasant woman who was going about her everyday peasant life when a single obedient “okay” to some weird guy with wings changed everything, everywhere.

Nine months before little Jesus arrived, Mary's life was set. She was well-respected in her village. She was engaged to a nice boy. Her life lay before her, a straight and serene desert road.

And just as she adjusted to the idea of becoming a mother without the help of a man, she was forced away from the cozy home birth she probably expected, complete with midwife and her mother at her bedside. Instead she did it in a stable in far-off Bethlehem. There were sheep and cows and a feeding bin—- and an escape to Egypt that meant no return home until her child was almost two years old.

“He’s run off with his friends,” she must have assumed when her Son turned up missing in Jerusalem some years later. Imagine her shock when she found Him zinging the elders in the Temple with wisdom far beyond His twelve years.

“A carpenter, like his father,” she likely thought as watched her Son grow. But suddenly in the place of wagons and fishing boats were throngs of people demanding to be healed; then, a soldier’s cruel whip and a cross.

What did she expect on Easter morning? Did Jesus clarify for His Mother the teachings and predictions that so often escaped the apostles?

Whatever Mary had been steeled for, she was likely knocked sideways by the intense sorrow of the cross and the relieved joy of Easter.

And when her Son was lifted away from her forty days later, she was probably surprised again, only to be amazed once more when the formerly trembling apostles, infused with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, went tumbling into the streets to proclaim that her child was indeed alive.

A mother’s life, turned upside down again and again by her own child.

These things happen, when God is involved.

1 comment:

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