Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mary The Mother

Mary, Miriam, The Most Holy Blessed Mother, Theotokos, Panagia, Our Mother, Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, Mother of God, Full of Grace, Advocate of Eve, Star of the Sea, Seat of Wisdom, Cause for our Joy, Our Hope, She who shows the Way, Mother of Mercy...

the list goes on and on.
Protestants are confounded by Catholic devotion to her.  Catholics cry to her again and again in the rosary.  Orthodox Christians allow her to be the only woman in their alters and on the Holy Mountain.  

What is it about this woman that so compels billions to love and adore her?  

God chose her to be the mother of His Son.  He told her about His choice and she said, yes.  

Above, you will find the first in a series of videos by Archbishop Fulton Sheen on Our Mother, the reason for Mother's Day.  She held the creator of the universe in her womb.  She gave flesh to God and brought him into a temporal world to live as one of us.  She cared for him and loved him.  She suggested His first miracle.  She stood by the cross.  She committed his body.  She rejoiced in His resurrection.  She was at Pentecost.  She was assumed into Heaven.  She is with Him now.

I'd like to reflect on her motherhood.  This is the month of mothers, and I've been quite miffed at several commentaries made by men with regard to the birth of Our Lord.  

I have heard several Catholic speakers discuss Mary's birth experience.  They describe it as "painless" and "making no physical difference."  It is quite difficult for women to listen to this and maintain their faith in these priests! (Our faith in Jesus remains.)  In this post, I call on all men, who wish to speak authoritatively on the sensations of childbirth, to take a moment and realize that they will never have a woman's body.  No man will ever be privy to the culture of women.  No man will ever posses a feminine genius!  Perhaps such speculation should not be made by men.  

My experience with childbirth is quite limited.  I've had one child and only been at the birth of one other.  Mary was much more experienced than I.  As a small child, she would have helped with simple preparations for births in her family.  As a temple virgin, she would have been called to many births.  She would be well-acquainted with the process, description of sensations, and the mental process of giving birth.  

We must assume that Mary's relationship with her own body was the most healthy.  For an American woman, this is practically impossible to imagine.  She had no shame, guilt, dissatisfaction, fear, anxiety, or loathing of her body.  She accepted herself and her physical being as a gift from the Lord.  Her outlook on her body was a major reason why she did not fall into sin.  It was also a major reason why she was chosen to be The Mother of God.  

When Mary was pregnant, she did not experience implantation cramping, round ligament pain, kicking, and Braxton Hicks contractions as pain, but as joy.  I myself enjoyed these pains of pregnancy because of my joy to be a mother after a lifetime of waiting.  

Just because something is painful, does not mean it is negative.  Pain can be glorious and wonderful.  There is good pain and there is bad pain.  Mary had no fear or anxiety about the birth of Jesus, her sensations during birth were welcomed and therefore not experienced as pain.  As to the hymen of Mary, it's not beyond God's power to keep it in tact, but it offends me that men talk about it at length.  Such talk seems disrespectful of Our Lady.  If She were here, would we ask for an internal exam as Thomas put his fingers in the wounds of Jesus?  Certainly not!  We can assume that Mary's body was kept safe and miraculously whole for her entire life.

I dedicate this month to my own mother, whom I recently lost to death.    

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As mentioned in the Anonymous Girl post, Pope John Paul II had a great devotion to Mary.  He gave his life to her care and loved her with all his heart.  On this, the day of John Paul The Great's beatification, I celebrate Mary.

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