These Meditations will Fill Your Day with Peace
Motherhood is a popular subject for writers and thinkers, especially as magazines, such as Fit Pregnancy, Family Circle, and Parents fill the shelves of waiting rooms and homes in our modern society. Every new mom is eager to learn about this strange and wondrous new world of navigating diapers, crying spells, and sleepless nights, so she turns to the local advice column in the hopes of finding some timeless insight to guide her.
But true counsel can only be found in our beautiful spiritual mother, Mary. As often as we seek common parenting advice for the modern mom, so should we spend time pondering the wisdom that cannot be found in lists or articles. Mary, a person of few words, teaches us about the true meaning of motherhood – sharing laughter, taking advantage of a few moments of quiet to gaze at her child, spending time to rest with her baby in her arms, and stealing a few kisses along the way. The time we spend worrying about early childhood education, scheduled nap times, and nursery decorations comes to naught unless we spend time in the search for authentic meaning in motherhood. Mary paves the way for us, today and every day. She constantly reminds us “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5).
Dearest Mother, no one marveled more than you did at the sublime birth of your Son. His light radiated first in your womb, then for the world to see after His birth. I imagine the extreme humility experienced by those who paid homage to Him – this poverty-born, simple infant, the God-Man who is the Savior for all of humanity.
What child is this? We remember the First Christmas, so long ago and certainly only a picture from our imagination, yet so real – this day, every day. When we live each day as if it were the First Christmas, we permit your Son to be born again and again in our hearts, ever changing and always anew. This newness is what you brought forth on that night in the stable, so far from home. You knew that Jesus was your home, and so you lead us to Him with gentle persistence as our spiritual mother. Come, Lord Jesus, be born in me today, that I may love as you love, trust as you trusted your mother, and be caressed under the heavenly veil of Your Father’s protection. Make my heart as a child’s heart again, that all things might be made new, verdant, and pure. Amen.
Mary, most holy, the journey to Bethlehem was the First Pilgrimage. Though it was not a permanent destination for you, it was a monumental moment in history and a crucial aspect of your personal journey. You display the aspect of humanity that makes you so approachable – sleeping, exhausted after an arduous trek across desert and sea, yet contentedly weary from childbirth and the dawn of motherhood.
Though you sleep, your Child remains drowsily awake, perhaps lulled by the melodic tunes of the angels present in adoration at your side. They gaze upon Him while you rest, cradling Jesus in your arms without the intention of ever releasing Him from your grasp. Sleep, dear mother, for your mission has just begun, and I am reminded now that the fluctuations of rest and vigilance exist in my life, too. They are the cadence that draws me out of one and toward the other – from rest to work, from work to sleep. And so the balance of both is necessary, as you so aptly remind me here. Dear Jesus, watch over me while I sleep so that I may truly rest in You and in the arms of Your mother, who cares for me as if I were still a small child. May the angels stand at my side, serenading me with their heavenly lullabies, so that even while I am awake and attentive to whatever task is at hand, my heart and soul may abide in you with peaceful and dreamy sleep. Amen.
Mother of divine grace, how can anyone separate your heart from the heart of your Son, Jesus? It is so evident here that you both shared one love, one purpose, one mind. In essence, you exhibit the unity of hearts that must be sought in all of Christendom, especially beginning with me. This heart language requires no words to be spoken. In fact, words would only complicate and convolute the supreme message of your love for each other, for all of humanity, and for me.
How I long to share your love, and it occurs to me that I already do. I need only ask to participate in this mother-child relationship. I only need a heart that is ready, open, and willing to trust in your protection and guidance.
Sometimes I am too distracted with my busyness to acknowledge the gift of being. As mother and Son, you needed only one thing – to be together, to spend countless and lingering moments with each other in a literal and spiritual embrace. These moments are what I often lack in my day, yet I am lured back to a state of being rather than doing as I gaze into your eyes. You remind me that nothing is more important than the gift of my time spent with you, spent in prayer and solitude. Lead me into this sanctuary of my heart, dear mother, that I may hear the voice of your Son speak in the clandestine recesses there.
Mary, Mystical Rose, your halo joins with Jesus’ to form a heart. This heart is the one that bleeds, that weeps, that supersedes suffering without avoiding it. You are my Mystical Rose, because your mystical heart is enigmatic, yet available. I do not have to know or understand difficult matters of theology or philosophy to approach you. And when I do, you meet me where I am.
How I long to be in your arms as your Child once was! What was it like to enjoy these moments of bliss as a mother, knowing that one day Jesus would leave your arms and your home so that His mission might be fulfilled in this life? You knew of His inevitable suffering, which certainly pierced your heart, but you did not allow that understanding to fracture the time you had for enjoying His growth from infancy to toddler to child to adolescent to man. Every mother watches her child become a grown man or woman, but we forget about the flickers of time we are given to appreciate each stage with gratitude and a full heart.
As a mother, teach me to ponder all things in my heart with great joy, no matter what may come in the future. Though I cannot know for certain if my daughters will become holy women, it is my hope that, with you as their spiritual mother and me as their earthly mother, they will be constantly reminded of where they can turn in times of turmoil and tumult. Help me to watch my children learn and grow with the same patience, acceptance, and wonder that you showed as Jesus grew older.
Mother of our Savior, why is it that I erroneously believe I must complicate my life with frivolous things? Here you sit, probably on an ordinary day, but you deliberately pause with Jesus in your arms to gaze upon Him. You never ceased that gaze, a gaze I so often neglect as the monotony of my day turns into the mundane daily grind.
Jesus didn’t need a houseful of toys, and you didn’t concern yourself with peripheral and passing material possessions. Your clothing and His weren’t the focal point of this moment of encounter. Nothing else mattered but you and Jesus, sharing another wordless moment, basking in the spiritual fruits of peace and joy.
All fades into oblivion when I pause throughout my day to take time for your Son – my worries, my technology, my books and thoughts are only fillers in the grand scheme of encountering Jesus in the simple, quiet moments I so often miss. In this encounter I meet you meeting Jesus; and I realize that you both are ever-present all around me. I share in the motherly heart you carried – a martyr’s heart, for a mother dies to herself when she carries a child in her womb and gives birth. Mary, you remind me that all of motherhood is a sacrifice, but these sacrifices of my time are the most powerful gifts I can give to my children and to Jesus. Help me to grow in recognizing and embracing those small opportunities to ponder and pray each day.
When motherhood becomes hectic, as it surely does, we know we can draw upon the strength and love from our spiritual mother who endured all things for the sake of love. When our energy is depleted, we can draw from the wellspring of her heart, which is overflowing with mercy and timely help. When we are chastising ourselves for our negligence as mothers, perhaps unfairly, we can turn to Mary, who touches us with her everlasting kindness. All that we are and who we hope to become can be found in this one woman’s journey. Her life and legacy are what can – and should – lead us on the path heavenward, because we receive an intimate view into the heart of Jesus and long to join Mary in loving Him without measure, without pretense, and without trepidation. Love Jesus as Mary loves Him, and you will be assured of the firstfruits of Heaven.