The Heart of a Mother

Yesterday was the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, whose love is so strong He would lay down His life for His friends. Today is the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, whose love nurtured Jesus from His birth as He grew up in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.

Our first intimations of what love is the love of our mothers. We spend the first nine months of our existence in her womb. The first sound we recognize is the sound of her heartbeat: constant and reassuring. The first nourishment we received was her blood: nurturing and life-giving. And when we were born, we sucked at her breasts for milk that is complete nutrition and full of sweetness and sustenance. The bond that ties us to our mothers from our first moments s a bond that shall never be broken throughout our lives. In our joys, we run to mother to make her proud of us. In our sorrows, we cling to her for comfort and protection as even just her touch, her kiss can take the pain away.

Mothers are nurturing by nature. No wonder then that we call nature and our planet Mother Earth; for from her we get our life and our sustenance. No wonder then that we also call the church our Holy Mother, the Church; for from her we learn the guidance and the lessons we need for life. And if we call God our Father because His love is strong and dependable, should we not also call Her Mother because Her love for us is gentle and ever-reassuring?

The love of a mother, like that of God, often baffles and mystifies. A mother’s favorite is not always the strongest nor the brightest of her children. It is often the weakest or the smallest one. The natural tendency of all life is self-preservation. A mother will think nothing of putting herself at risk for the sake of her children. Between herself or her children going hungry, she’d rather die than let her children die of hunger.  No cold is so strong that cannot be warmed by a mother’s hug and embrace. No heat is so intense that cannot be cooled down by a mother’s caress. No pain is so intense that cannot be relieved by a mother’s kiss. Aren’t the ways of a mother so much like the ways of God?

Lord, forget not the souls of your poor ones.

After three days they found him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions,
and all who heard him were astounded
at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him, they were astonished,
and his mother said to him,
“Son, why have you done this to us?
Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.”
And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
But they did not understand what he said to them.
He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them;
and his mother kept all these things in her heart.
Luke 2:46-51

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