Behold your Mother
We could say that Mary is the merciful and tender side of God's love
by Mariano de Blas LC | Source: Catholic.net
Behold your Mother
Pentecost was an important event for the Church, and the protagonists were primarily the Holy Spirit and, secondly, the Blessed Virgin. She gathered the early Church, formed by the apostles, and made her kneel to pray, to ask precisely for the coming of the Holy Spirit, who would set the standard to that small, timid Church, formed by weak men who were still inexperienced in the job that awaited them. She was, therefore, the key element in the lives of those first apostles. She remains the key, indispensable in the life and work of the apostles of today: in you and me.
Jesus' love in giving us His own Mother.
I would like to tell you what I tell myself: Jesus' love in giving us His Mother is beyond bounds. How often have I told Him, “An impressive proof of how deeply you care for us, as brothers, is that you have given us your mother, truly and forever.” If Mary is Christ's mother, and my mother, then Christ is my brother. Both Jesus and she take this reality in all seriousness. When Jesus told John, who represented all of us, “Behold your Mother,” he was serious. It was God, it was a Man, the Son of Man, who died on the cross, and she was the principal part of His will. In the same way, the words, “Behold your son,” and, hence, your sons, were meant in all seriousness, and Holy Mary, at least, took them very seriously. Therefore, she has accepted her motherhood with all the love, all the faithfulness and all the depth of which she is able. Hopefully, we, too, will take that phrase of Jesus seriously, “Behold your Mother.”
She is Jesus' Mother as well as ours.
By right, Mary belongs totally to Jesus and, by gift, she belongs to us. But she is all ours, so let us not think we have stolen her; she has been given to us. Let us not think that we are so bad, sinners, so unworthy as to have her as our mother because, even though it is true we are unworthy sinners, it is also true that she is our mother. She cannot see us separate from Jesus, as if we were additional children; she sees us as grafted into the very fabric of her being. Therefore the depth of her love for us is even greater than that of our earthly mothers.
Ingratitude towards God is terrible, an offense to Love Itself. It is rejection of an eternal love, a divine love, a marvelous, totally unwarranted love. Similarly, to forget or reject the love of such a great mother is a tragic ingratitude. For those of us who are priests, favorite sons of the Blessed Mother, our ingratitude takes on larger dimensions. It is a terrible thing that a Christian should not love Mary or should not trust in her; but for a priest, who is another Christ, another Jesus, to despise, forget, not love and not trust in the Blessed Virgin is a very sad and grave sin.
'The sins that offend God hurt your heart because they wound the Heart of your Son and they do terrible damage to your children. How could I tell you, Mother, that I have brought very few flowers to you to this day?'
What is Mary? Love.
God is love. Mary most Holy is also love. We could say that Mary is the merciful and tender side of God's love. “Only you, Virgin Mary, cure God of the wounds we inflict on Him. For you only was redemption worth it, though there are many other souls who have taken their redemption seriously.”
'This love of yours that, on one hand, goes up to God and thus has all the gratitude of a creature, all the depth of a mother and all the purity of virgin, on the other hand is directed towards us, to the earth, to your children. The words of St. Alphonsus Liguori – though at first I could not believe them – made an imprint on my soul: “If we gather the love of all children for their mothers, of all mothers for their children, of all wives for their husbands, of all angels and saints for their entrusted souls, all that love would not equal the love Mary has for one of our souls.” I did not believe it at first because I thought it was too good to be true. Now I believe it and I sometimes wonder if St. Alphonsus' words did not fall short of reality.
Then I wonder, if I really believe in this love that Holy Mary has for me, could I feel miserable? Could I feel desperate? Could I live a life without joy, without strength, without motivation? Could I ever say in my apostolate, “I can't. I give up”? Could I ever say, “I resign my priesthood” and leave? If Christ gave His blood and His life for us, what will Mary not give to save us? She also spiritually died, crucified for us. Christ's hands and feet were pierced through by nails, her soul was pierced by a sword, for us. If He said, “Behold your son,” how does she obey God? Therefore, how great must her love be! If we are the favorites of her Son - “I call you friends” - we are also her favorites.
Mary's love must fill our hearts. A spouse's love is not enough to fill our heart. The love of Mary Most Holy is much stronger, richer, more tender, more comforting than the love of all spouses on earth. The love of my heavenly Mother completely satisfies my heart. One look, one smile from Holy Mary, gives me more than everything that all the women in the world could ever give me.
What should my response be to such great and tender love?
Like Pope John Paul II, we must each say, “Totus tuus,” all yours, forever. To the expression of Pope John Paul, “fighting alongside Mary and very close to her,” we must always answer, “Totus tuus”!
Without asking him, Satan follows me everywhere: to the street, my room, on vacation, on the weekend, on my ministry, and his presence is always evil. Why not take Mary with me everywhere: in my heart, in my thoughts, and, also, in an image? Her presence is always good. I have in my office and in my bedroom a picture of the Blessed Mother. Constantly I look at her, talk to her and listen to her. I feel her presence and her love through that image.
What should be my attitude towards Mary? In the first place, I should glory in her as I glory in Christ. St. Paul said that Christ on the Cross is the culmination of all, “But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ...” (Gal 6:14)
In a similar way, we can say to Mary, “What is your greatest glory, eternal child? Your most marvelous image has your dead Son on your knees on that Good Friday. I also say, “Far be it from me to glory except in Mary Most Holy with her dead Son on that Good Friday.”
If I love the Blessed Mother deeply, so must I love Jesus, whom she carried in her arms as a child and held dead on her lap, whom she loves more than she loves herself. Therefore, it is not dangerous to love Mary so much that our love for Christ diminishes. On the contrary, she is the way to Christ, she knows it, she loves it, for her it is her main glory to take us to Christ. And, so, if we make the decision to love her dearly, we will necessarily end up loving Christ.
Second, I must be a child. If I had the soul of a child I would get along much better with Christ, with my mother and with others, and even with myself. The simpler I am with Mary, the better we will understand each other. I have sometimes asked her to give me great knowledge of and love for Jesus. Her answer was so simple that it took me a while to recognize that it came from her. I expected a grand, solemn response. This was the answer, “Be like a child with a living, working faith.” That is, if they tell you He is God, believe it; if they tell you that He died crucified for you, believe it; if they tell you that He lives in the Eucharist out of love for you, accept it and believe it as a child would, with a live, working faith.
If the Blessed Mother tells me to be a child with Jesus, what should I be with her? … an eternal child. In the spiritual order I am a child, no more, so I behave with Mary like a helpless, inexperienced, but trusting child.
Third, to love and trust. “O, Mother, we are like Jesus, children running to you, to love you like Him and be loved by you! O Mary, I want to tell you today and always, 'You are my victory, you are my peace and my security.'” Every priest and every Christian should say this if he truly loves Mary as his mother.
Resurrection is feeling the joy and the triumph of Christ in my heart: “Jesus, You are my victory.” I also feel the triumph of Mary in her Assumption: “Blessed Mother, you are also my victory! And just as I rejoice in the triumph of the Risen Christ, I rejoice in yours, my Mother, in your Assumption to Heaven. It is also my triumph because it is the triumph of my mother. When one of your sons takes you seriously, everything is possible.”
There are things we wonder about: ...will I be able? ...will I ever be cured of this illness? ...will I ever overcome this temptation? ...will I be able to meet my apostolic goals? These things that we consider impossible or very difficult, are very possible when we take Mary seriously. For example, overcoming temptations, conquering difficult goals and, above all, making it to Heaven.
'I want to risk it all with the most marvelous woman in the world, the tenderest mother, the most powerful queen: Mary. It makes a great difference having a mother like you, a big difference. If we are sad, disoriented, like orphans, we must remember... where is our mother? Who is she? What is her name? When I am angry, discouraged or impatient, I just need to look at your face, contemplate your eyes, see your smile and my anger, discouragement and impatience are gone, Mother.'
The more I feel incapable in lacking qualification, time or experience, the more I should launch myself. This is faith and hope and love. The other is the usual vanity, looking at myself, my boat and my nets, and not at the Omnipotent Christ and Mary, the omnipotent supplicant. It made the difference for Peter. First he said, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing...” Then, “...but in your name I will lower the nets.” The nets filled up with fish: that is the difference. I do not think that Jesus would get angry if we also cast the nets in Mary's name. Jesus will smile with pleasure and emotion, seeing that we not only trust in His command and cast our nets in His name, but that we also trust Mary, His mother and ours, and in her name we also cast our nets. In her name, our nets will also fill up with fish.
'I do not want to lose you, mother. The day I lose you, I will also be lost. On that day I will be truly lost.'
When we experience setbacks – which happens in life – we can remind ourselves, or others, who the cause of our joy is. If we really believe what we daily recite in the litany of the Rosary, there should always be a smile on our face, a permanent peace, continuous strength, even in the face of sorrow and pain. 'O, Mary, you are my salvation! With you I dare! With you I can! With you I will go to the ends of the world!' This is what we must say, what we must shout, to all the enemies that defy us – whether world, devil, our flesh – and tell us we will not become holy, we will not accomplish anything with our apostolate. We must deepen our trust in her until we feel absolute security and courage in our veins, in our bodies, in our entire soul. I know a Woman will take me to Heaven, will obtain for me the grace of holiness, the courage of the martyrs, the zeal of the apostles.
Like St. Paul, you and I can say, “I can do all things in Christ who empowers me.” And we can also say, “I can do all things in Mary who strengthens me.” If I have Mary Most Holy, if I have Christ and if I believe that they love me dearly and that they can do everything, I should not worry, be afraid, restless, overwhelmed – never.
We have heard that priests have lost their identity. Their identity is to be another Christ on earth. Do you think that Mary could forget the face of her Son? Do you think that Mary has lost, or fails to recognize, the identity of the priest, when in him she sees the image, the face, of her own Son? Who says that the priest has lost his identity? He has it branded onto his soul.
So can we or can we not with Mary? Can we or can we not solve the great problems and achieve the great reforms in the Church? Can we or can we not with Mary? It worked at the beginning because she had the Church praying. She helped obtain the descent of the Holy Spirit who transformed those men from cowardly into courageous, from timid into lions, from incapable – humanly speaking – into apostles who achieved in reality the conversion of their pagan world. Today, the Church will also achieve it if she takes Mary seriously. She is, by God's Providence, the one who will again crush the head of the devil who has infiltrated the Church.
Therefore, if we want to triumph, individually as Christians, as priests, and collectively as the Church, we must take very seriously in our life, in our prayer and in our apostolate the woman who crushed the serpent's head: Mary Most Holy.
'O, Mary, you are not only my mother, but my teacher and I want to be a masterpiece in your hands! Divine potter, I come before you as a little broken pot, but with that same clay you can remake me according to your taste. Do it! Take my clay, the clay of my difficulties, of my problems, of my defects, of my sins. Take this clay. The pot that has been undone so often by Satan, the world, the flesh. Make a new little pot, better than the first one. I want to be a saint in your school, Mary. I want to be a great priest in your school, I want to be a great apostle in your school, Mary of Nazareth.'
I want, in Mary's school, to learn the art of living. She is the Teacher, above all, of love for Jesus. If in anything she has been a teacher, it is in love. So, if love is what will save us, the only thing that will save us, we must go to that school where there is a sublime teacher, the most excellent, in the art of love. No other creature has loved God so much and so well as Mary. Therefore, she is the person who can best teach us to love.
The great and only force able to pull us out of our egoism and launch us towards God and our neighbor is love. Well, Mary of Nazareth has a school of love. She is the teacher par excellence and no one can teach us, her favorite children, about love better than she can.
It is said that Mary is the shortest and most beautiful path to Jesus. The easiest way to know the Son is the heart of the Mother. I will have the blessed pride to say that it was Mary Most Holy who opened for me the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who taught me to love Him. St. Paul also said, “Who can separate me from the love of Christ?” (Rom 8:35) I want to say the same thing, and to add, “Who can separate me from the love of my Mother?” A saint once said, and I say it also, “I believe in my 'nothingness' united to Christ.” I also add, “I believe in my 'nothingness' united to Mary Most Holy.”