Mother of all Feasts
We Catholics are famous for devotion to the Blessed Mother. We carry rosaries and sing songs to her; we put her statue in front of our churches and in the backyards of our homes; we celebrate her many feasts throughout the year: the Assumption, the Immaculate Conception, Guadalupe, the Immaculate Heart, the Annunciation, etc. But today, the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, is the “Mother of all Marian Feasts.” It follows Christmas by one week, because Mary follows Christ. We can only understand Christ, and love Him, by understanding and loving His Holy Mother.
I grew up Catholic, but even in High School I didn’t know how to pray the rosary. Graduation was coming up, and I asked my mother if I could spend the summer before college at our cousins’ ranch in Utah—they were Mormons. She said yes, but only if I also did a 4-week Catholic retreat in Los Angeles. At that retreat, I discovered Mary. I found that Jesus’ mother was also my mother. They taught us a simple song: “Mary, you’re my mother. Ooo—oooo-oooo-ooooo-oooo.” It’s just that simple, and it’s stayed that simple every since. Mary is my mother. I love her, and she loves me. She looks into my face, and I look into hers.
Love your mother
God wants you to love your mother, because if you don’t love your mother, you won’t love anyone. Really, it’s the most natural thing in the world, and it’s where we all began. We all began life under, so to speak, our mother’s hearts—in her womb. The first thing we began to sense was the beating of our mother’s heart, our first reference and identity. Our own hearts began to beat, at around 10 weeks from conception, in rhythm with that great heart just above us. Then we were born, and we pressed our faces to her heart, to her breasts, to receive milk and warmth and love. Sometime, however, around age two, we learned the word “no.” We began saying “no” to our mother’s heart. And we spend the rest of our lives trying to return, to bring our own hearts back into rhythm with hers. She is our first love, and nothing can replace a mother’s love. Some of us don’t have a mother’s love, or very much of it, and that is a great cross. But we have another mother….
Broken Hearts and the Immaculate Heart
No mother is without her own sins, except for one. We begin to see, as we grow older, that our mothers’ hearts are broken, just like ours. It is true that our mothers have at times been careless with us, have misunderstood and hurt us. But though imperfect, a mother will always seek the face and the voice of her child, even an aborted child. In Bethlehem, the shepherds went in haste to see the face of a child. They entered and found Mary and Joseph, and the child, lying in the manger. “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” It is in the heart of Mary that we find our own hearts; it is in the heart of Mary that we find the heart of Jesus. She kept all these things—she kept her baby Jesus—in her heart, kept Him there for us. Our Lady is Jesus’ keeper. The shepherds came to her to find Jesus. We also will find Jesus by going to her. She keeps Jesus for us.
Most of us disrespect or ignore our mothers, at least in small ways. In doing so, dear people, we disrespect and ignore our real selves. Strive for the virtue of reverence, honor, and respect for your mother. And if that is difficult, turn to your mother in heaven for help. In honoring her, we also honor, and learn to love, our earthly mothers. If your own mother does not care for you, turn to your mother in heaven. I began a real relationship with my mother Mary when I was 17. I learned to pray the rosary, and honor Our Lady in all women, beginning with my own mother. I turn to her for help, and I turn to her in love, every morning and every evening. Mary, be our mother today.