Sunday, 13 May 2012

Queen of the Everyday

Mother and child - St Julian's  Church, Norwich
It’s Mother’s Day today in the States. Mother's Day here happens in Lent which probably tells us a great deal a lot about our attitude to motherhood. In fact, that Sunday is to honour the Church as mother  - human mothers  don't get a day except by association. 

If it wasn't Sunday it would be the feastday of Our Lady of Fatima. 
Mary would say that she has no right to be honoured except by association to her son - she certainly knows what motherhood is about.

There is very little about Mary in the Gospels; there are some who believe that her only duty was to be the human ‘incubator’ - the Ark of the Covenant as we said during her Litany today - and there is nothing else to thank her for. If this is the case, Jesus may as well have sprung fully formed, like Venus, from the sea. There is a lot more to motherhood than incubation!

We have come to understand about the courage that Mary needed to say that first ‘yes’. How the culture and tradition of the time could have meant her death, or at least exile, there and then. Mary put herself in God’s hands – Your will be done – and her Son makes the same surrender to his Father in the Garden of Tears.

When Mary speaks the Magnificat to her cousin Elizabeth; you can’t help but wonder where these words came from; hardly the turn of phrase of a young peasant girl. It’s a reminder that God is still with her; she speaks the words that will change the world order; that will challenge tradition; that will lead to the Kingdom; this is the faith she will teach her Son.

Mary, the Mother of God challenges all expectation; that God would speak to a woman; that God would lie helpless in her arms; that God would live as one with the poor and the outcast; that God would bring mercy and not judgment; that it is the lowly that are blessed. When Jesus speaks the Beatitudes – he speaks the faith of his mother as well as the Will of his Father.

Mary influences Jesus’ life as any mother does, in word and action; in the little things. That he is good with children; that he is considerate with women; that he notices the widow and beggar; that hospitality is important; that people need to eat; that we should not be afraid. His humanity reflects the courage and humility that was hers. And his pride and trust in her gives him the confidence to leave us in her hands; children who need to be cared for as he was.

The Marriage Feast is my favourite dialogue between the two– a real mother; a real son - with all the eyebrow raising, tutting and deep sighs that is nuanced behind these few words. As a mother she knows it is time for her son to 'grow up'; to accept his calling;  to begin somewhere; as painful as it will be knowing where it will lead. This small scene moves God from an distant observer to a man who is involved in even the mundane moments of life. 

And the best line of all - ‘Do as he tells you’.

That is Mary’s role now. Having accepted the mantle of Mother, Mary asks us to listen to her Son and to say ‘Yes’. And to do it in our own daily lives; in practical and compassionate ways; with the people we love and those we don’t; to make the everyday extraordinary; to show mercy and to be peacemakers; to live by Love and by 'yes'.

Happy Mother's Day


1 comment:

log said...

As Therese said, "Mary is more Mother than Queen." +x