In my 9 months of pregnancy and 7 months of active motherhood, I find myself frequently thinking of The Blessed Mother, Mary. When John-Paul twisted and turned about in my womb, I thought about how Mary must have marveled at the child, the Son of God, growing within her. When my heart swells with joy at John-Paul’s sweet smile, I think, “Mary felt this with Jesus!” When John-Paul touches my face and looks into my eyes, and I am overtaken with love…I think of Mary, adoring her Son, the Redeemer of the world. The Lord took comfort at her breast, grazed her face with his warm, chubby hands…how blessed is she? When John-Paul wakes me up every hour of the night, and the limits of my love are pushed to love him even more, I think of Mary tending to the infant needs of Jesus. She comforted Him, rocked Him, nursed Him, covered Him with kisses. And our Lord, wrapped in the arms of Mary, felt loved and safe. When my whole person feels overwhelmed with sorrow at the prospect of my son suffering the dangers and trials of this world, I know that Mary understands. Simeon prophesied that Mary’s heart would be pierced and she endured the most unimaginable suffering: watching her beloved Son mocked, scourged, stripped and crucified. In the greatest moment of suffering in both His and Mary’s lives, Jesus gives us His own mother. “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son. ‘Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home,” (John 19:27-28)
In May 2013, I tore this cover off of my Magnificat, La Maison de la Virege by Guillaume Dubufe, because I loved it so. The way Mary holds Jesus’ foot and wraps him in her mantle is so tender, so motherly. I see Jesus leaning into her, his hand resting on her chest, and I feel their closeness. The painting seems quiet, peaceful, a hidden moment between the two of them.
Looking at this painting, I feel close to Mary. It helps me remember that she, too, is my mother and that, alive in Heaven with her Son, she knows my motherly heart. She sees my hidden moments with John-Paul – the good and the trying. She prays for me in times of frustration, loneliness, impatience and sorrow. She rejoices with me as I watch my son grow and learn. As my mother, she desires my good and my salvation. Jesus gave his mother to me, and in turn she leads me to her Son.
And as I wrap this up so that I can tend to my whimpering, teething son about to wake up from his nap, I feel the peace of knowing that I am loved by Jesus and His Blessed Mother. I feel understood and comforted in the arms of Mary, the same arms that rocked our Lord to sleep.
How blessed am I?