Mary’s motherhood, like motherhood in general, was lived out quietly behind the scenes. Pope St. John Paul II pointed out that “History is written almost exclusively as the narrative of men’s achievements, when in fact its better part is most often molded by women’s determined and persevering action for good (Papal Message on Women’s Conference to Mrs. Gertrude Mongella, May 1995).”
Mary achieved more than any other human being. This was done in the most intimate way in the context of her Divine Motherhood, a role which God asked her to live, and which she joyfully assented to. She now mothers all of humanity, seeking out her lost children, bringing souls to life in grace and loving saints into being, so essential and eternal is her motherhood to who she is.
But just as God took his own flesh from the body of Mary, so every child comes into this world through the body of a woman. Every conception is a kind of annunciation, God asking permission of the woman to bring a new life into the world because his creative love has delighted in the thought of that particular and unique little one.
He “entrusts the human person to her (woman) in a special way” (JPII) and asks every woman’s immediate care and participation in the formation of the life he gives. Just as he sent his own son to be his ultimate gift to a world dying from sin, so he sends every child to be a gift to a world in desperate need of his goodness.
Some are meant to show the face of Christ’s mercy, others his compassion. Some will be teachers in his likeness, others will bring his miracles into people’s lives. Others will spend and consume themselves to heal and unite us all into one family of Our Father.
Every mother wants greatness for her child. That greatness will be measured by the part they play in the greatest drama ever, the drama of redemption, the battle for souls, the battle for the brothers and sisters of our own particular age. The call on every life is to participate in redeeming its own age. Every gift of Christ made incarnate in the lives of those born into this world is meant to serve this.
If we are to imitate Christ and become one with him in all things, motherhood is truly a privileged place where, with Christ, a woman can fully say: “This is my body which is given up for you.”
The tragedy today is that so many women are saying instead: “This is my body and I will not give it up for you.”
They have not seen nor understood the greatness of their calling.
In the simplicity of God, our life on earth is meant to be about what our life in heaven will be like. The real stars in heaven will be mothers, for without their “yes” to our existence, none of us would have a chance of going there. But the supreme star will be our Queen, our Mother Mary whose “yes” to God’s love gave us our savior and redeemer, the chance to once again call God our Father, and the gift that every heart longs for: To live in the perfect family forever.
Sister Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT, is a sister of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity and serves at Domus Trinitatis, Willey.