• Sarah Raad


“‘Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.’” (Luke 2:51).

Immaculate Heart of Mary (Miguel Ballejo y Mandriano)

When I was a little girl, and even when I was a young woman, I always imagined that I would have at least six children in my life. What has actually happened – through God’s Grace – is that I have been blessed with three living children – two boys and a girl – and one little saint in Heaven.

Last year – after receiving a medical diagnosis that was both unexpected and anticipated – I was required to undergo surgery to manage my condition and that surgery would effectively terminate my hopes of ever having another biological child…

And I have been reflecting on that over the last few days and weeks. You see, there was a time in my life when the thought of never being able to have another child would have literally – and without exaggeration – sent me completely mad. For a very very long time after my youngest child became a saint before I was ready to let him go, I was unable to even fathom the possibility that I would not have any more children. Such a possibility was literally the worst possibility of my life…

One of my most serious concerns prior to my surgery last year was the fear that I would wake up from the procedure and immediately regret the procedure (although my investigations revealed that there was really no other option for me to manage the condition than a surgical option).

And yet – God prepared me well in advance of this procedure. For years He had worked to condition my soul to accept His Holy Will. And through GRACE – and no merit of my own – when I awoke from that life-changing surgery last year, knowing that I would now be physically incapable of carrying another child in this lifetime – I experienced only great joy.

It was – in fact – the sort of joy that was inhuman. I felt – for perhaps the first time in my entire life – completely at peace and utterly free. And – through the Grace of God and no merit of my own – such a feeling has continued in the months since that surgery…

And I have been reflecting on this reality – this MIRACLE in my life. For one thing that I know for certain is that what happened to me is an actual miracle…

You see, I came to the realisation that I can have an infinite number of children – spiritual children not biological children. And where love for a child is concerned, there is no real difference between a biological child and a spiritual one. After all, if I love another soul and want the best for that soul, I must surrender all my love – all my life – for love of that soul…

And I have been reflecting on the ultimate role model of motherhood – The Immaculate Virgin Mary, who loves all her children with her Immaculate Heart…

In the Fifth Joyful Mystery of the Most Holy Rosary we commemorate the finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple… “His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the Boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem... After three days they found Him in the temple... And when they saw Him they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, ‘Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.’” (Luke 2:41-51).

You see, I can feel – even with the distance of twenty centuries – the distress of Christ’s parents in losing Him. I can feel The Immaculate Heart of Mary’s love for her Son and her distress at being separated from Him…How she suffered for love of Him.

Saint Louis de Montfort said, “If you put all the love of all the mothers into one heart it still would not equal the love of the Heart of Mary for her children.” And at the Foot of the Cross, The Immaculate Heart of Mary accepted the Church and all the souls within it as her CHILDREN. And that was not a metaphorical trade. It was not symbolic. It was a real DEAL – so to speak… That means that when I sin and I am lost to Her, my Immaculate Heavenly Mother is in distress until she gets me back.

Saint Bernard said, “If the winds of temptations arise, if you run into the rocks of tribulations, look at the star, invoke Mary. If you are tossed about by the waves of pride, look at the star, invoke Mary. If anger or avarice or the seductions of the flesh shake the little boat of your soul, look at Mary. If, troubled by the enormity of your crimes, confounded by the uncleanliness of your conscience, frozen with fright at the thought of judgement, you start to be swallowed up by the gulf of sadness and the abyss of despair, think about Mary. In perils, in anguish, in doubt, think about Mary, invoke Mary. If you follow her, you do not go astray. If you pray to her, you do not despair. If you consult her, you are not wrong. If she supports you, you do not fall. If she protects you, you fear nothing. If she leads you, you do not tire. If she is favourable to you, you reach your aim.”

And I guess that this is the true miracle of my life – the Immaculate Heart of Mary – who teaches me how to love like a mother, when that is all I have ever really wanted to do…

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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