Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mary: One With Us

"Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister..."

Today is the feast of our Lady of Sorrows, and the entry in my Living Faith booklet discusses Mary's suffering. I've always admired Mary, the mother of our Lord, but I find that I identify even more with her now that I'm also a mother. It's no easy thing, being a mother. It's a combination of extreme highs and lows, and requires a staggering amount of self-sacrifice. Whenever I pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, I dwell on this theme: The annunciation to Mary that she would be the mother of God's son, as a young, unmarried woman; her visitation to her cousin Elizabeth during their mutual pregnancies (need that female support time); Jesus' birth; his dedication in the Temple; and then his being lost and found amongst the teachers in the Temple. That one always gets me - how can he not know what he put his mother through?!

Last night, providentially enough, Henry and I picked up his little children's Bible and opened to our bookmark. We were at the Last Supper. We've been reading the stories all the way from the Creation, and I've been dreading this point since then. This Bible doesn't dwell on the Crucifixtion, but obviously, it's covered. It's a pretty important detail. But we haven't talked to Henry much yet about death, and I wasn't sure how I was going to explain everything.

As would be expected, I was peppered with questions throughout:

"Mommy, who's that? Judas? Why does he have that beard? What is he doing? He's bad? How come he's bad? Why is he talking to those bad men? How come he's doing that? Where's Peter, Mommy? Where is his bread? Oh, look at that cross, Mommy! Like at chooch. Where is he taking it? Why is he doing that? Is that Mary? What's she doing? How come she's hugging the cross? Why is Jesus on that cross?

Henry was particularly interested in the picture of Mary standing in front of the cross, with the bottom of the cross, Jesus' legs included, visible behind her. He was demanding to know what everybody was doing, and I did my best to explain it to him.

Precious little angel. Someday he's going to grow up and make his own choices, and sometimes they're going to be painful ones. And I'm going to have to live with the results. It won't be easy, but it's part of my vocation as his mother.

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