Monday, July 15, 2013

"That's my mommy!"

No baby yet...but if you want to join me in praying she's born on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel tomorrow, I'd be delighted! I'm pretty much convinced that it's only possible if it is actually God's will...

But I'm not thinking about Baby Sister tonight...I'm thinking about my sweet Sister Stinky.


Earlier, we were at the pool together, and I overheard her telling some of the other little kids, "That's my mommy!" as she pointed to me. It happened on more than one occasion this afternoon, and I've noticed her saying that a lot lately. In fact, she often forgets to introduce herself or ask the other kids their names. Sometimes she doesn't even say "hi" first. But, without fail, when meeting new little kids, one of the first things she tells them is, "That's my mommy."

Today I was thinking about that in light of tomorrow's wonderful feastday. I love Mary dearly, but I'm still getting to know her and really bond with her. I find that I can relate to her better the longer I am a mother, and I think that having my newest daughter claim the Blessed Mother as a patron will also help. But emotions or no, there's something special about Mary - and there's just no getting around how important she is in the lives of her sons and daughters in the Church. Our Lady of Mount Carmel is so precious to our family because we have a real love for the Carmelites and their saints, and the Abbot and I also both wear and were enrolled in the Brown Scapular. We're very much aware of Mary's loving care and protection and intercession for our little family.



But she isn't just a mother to us...she's a mother to every member of the Church. One of her titles is actually "Mother of the Church" and she daily intercedes for all of us, wanting to do all she can to help us know true happiness in relation to her Son.

Marian devotion isn't unique to Catholics (if you know anyone who is Orthodox, you know they're kinda crazy about her, too) but it is something that is associated with being Catholic. Catholics are the ones that put Mary statues in their yards, tuck rosaries in their pockets, and often have at least one image of Mary in their home somewhere. Turning to Mary as a mother - the Mother given to us by Jesus at the foot of the cross - is just at the heart of Catholicism. It is a tremendous part of who we are!

But how many of us lead with our Marian devotion? How would we be perceived if we, with childhood trust, pointed to Mary and said, "That's my mommy!" How would our lives be different if that was one of the first things we told others when identifying ourselves?

Who your mommy is says a lot about who you are, and children are generally very proud of their mommies. Children - especially little girls - want to be just like their mommies! They admire their mothers and want to be associated with them. But it's even more basic than that. 

A child doesn't think through the statement, "That is my mommy!" She just says it because she knows, as a matter of every day survival that she needs her mommy. There is nothing shameful in her admitting this, but rather a child who is disciplined enough to look to her mommy for guidance in daily situations (not overly clingy but in a healthy attachment sort of way) is thought to be well behaved. A child who instinctively knows that she can trust her mother, and goes to her mother to learn things and ask questions, is considered "well-adjusted," "curious," and even "intelligent." And ultimately, a child close to her mother grows to love and trust her father deeply, too, as she sees her own mother loving and trusting this key member of the family.

The reality of it is that Jesus knew we needed this kind of mother in our lives! The Catholic's relationship to Mary is commonly misunderstood, but it should be seen in light of the relationship between a child and her mother. We need Mary precisely because we need a mommy to look out for us, to guide us, to teach us to trust her and our Father. We need Mary to help us be well-adjusted children of the Church - children who know how to ask questions but also how to trust the answers they're given. And ultimately, we need Mary because she helps us - indeed, as any good mother she teaches by example - how we are to love and totally trust the heavenly Father. Through her eyes, we see the Trinity - her Father, her Son, and the Holy Spirit, her mystical spouse - in a whole new light. We see our Father as only a child can through the eyes of her mother.

What kind of people would we be if one of our primary means of association was looking to Mary and proudly declaring, "That's my mommy!"? 

Food for thought as we recall our Mother in a special way tomorrow. :-)

2 comments:

  1. We sang Marian hymns this morning for you and baby sister. Although I must admit that selfishly I really want to baby to come on the 26th. It is our anniversary and the feast of Anne and Joaquin!

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    1. Thanks for the prayers...and I'm going to pretend I didn't read the second half of that...I love St. Anne and Joachim but my nausea has just been absolutely awful and I'm soooo ready to be done!

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