In 2011, four days after Christmas, I gave birth to an incredible masterpiece named Clare. What an Advent that was. I felt united to the Blessed Mother in such a unique way as I approached the birthday of her Son. There were daily contemplations regarding her pregnancy as I considered mine. I clearly remember a hormonally charged thought when reflecting her journey to Bethlehem… “I’d like to see someone just try to talk me into getting on a donkey right now.” Probably one of ten million reasons that the Lord chose Mary instead of me. I couldn’t even take off my own boots at that point, forget traveling across a desert.
Although I have had an affinity for the Blessed Mother for quite some time, motherhood has shown me more than ever the extent of her love for the Lord. The force of a mother’s love is immeasurable, now imagine uniting that love with that which she felt for the Lord. It is a mystery how someone could even contain it! It is for this reason that Mother Teresa tells us that we don’t have to be afraid to love Mary too much. We should love Mary as Jesus loved her.
I love to meditate on those first moments after Jesus’ birth. It is hard to even describe to others what it is like when your child is placed in your arms for the first time. In the minutes that follow your family holds one another feeling like they have been taken out by a violent tidal wave of overwhelming love. There aren’t coherent thoughts, just adoration. Can we calculate what Mary experienced during those first breaths of Jesus? What in the world was Joseph thinking? What sort of emotions were generating within these new parents as they looked at this helpless child in their arms? In that moment, their lives had been changed forever, and with it all of human history.
Mary wants to mother us this Advent season as well. She wants to hold us in her arms in this same way, and guide us as we learn to walk with her Son. She knows the difficulties of life, even better than we do. She surrendered completely to God’s Will, even as she watched her Son be brutally beaten and murdered. In fact, the body that was nailed to the cross was made within her womb. The Lord trusted her to care for it, nurture it and provide for it for years to come. It is for this reason that we can trust her too. She was the first Tabernacle to carry His Body, and her home was the first Christian Church. The Lord chose to come to us through Mary, and He wants us to return to Him in the same way. Let us head His call this Advent season and find the Lord resting with us in her mothering arms.