Our Blessed Mother, and Her chaste spouse Saint Joseph, TAUGHT GOD HIMSELF TO PRAY!
I have been reflecting very much lately about Our Blessed Mother in thinking about the practicalities of Her Holy life.
The last that we hear of Our Blessed Mother in the Gospels is when we are told… “standing by the cross of Jesus were His Mother and His Mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His Mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your Mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to His own home” (John 19:25-27). How practical that was! “Here is Your son and You be a Mother to him now, as You were a Mother to Me…” That is what Christ said. He said, put into practice the skills that You have learned in being my Mother – love him, care for him, protect him, teach him…
But that is not where the story ends in the Bible for Our Blessed Mother… In the Acts of the Apostles we hear about Her again, “…went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James … (and) these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the Mother of Jesus, and His brothers.” (Acts 1:14).
I have reflected on this final scene from the Acts of the Apostles very much over the last few months. After all, each time we hear about Our Blessed Mother in the Bible she is being of service to someone…
She was of service to God as His Handmaid. She was of service to Saint Elizabeth during the final trimester of her pregnancy. She was of service to Christ through His birth and in moving around with Her chaste spouse Saint Joseph to protect Him and present Him at the Temple, and in searching for Him when He was lost for three days. She was of service to Christ in following Him during His public life. And She was of service to Him on the Cross.
But it was more than that…
I can imagine Her there in that room after Her Blessed Son’s death – right there with the apostles and the other women. I can imagine Her grief – and I can see it translated to perfect service. I can see Her casting off Her own sorrow to tend to the souls of those whom He loved.
For it seems that Our Lady was the practical one. She was the one who got in there and got things done.
How much more practical could She be in Her Holiness. After all, was it not Our Blessed Mother, who burped and washed the bottom of the Son of Man? How much more practical can you get than that? It was She who cleaned up the mess when He was learning to use a bathroom. It was She who sang Him to sleep and settled Him when He had colic or an upset tummy or a runny nose. It was She who laughed at His infant antics. It was She who spoke to Him about His day in the afternoon when He finished His work. It was She who taught Him to pray!
Just think about that for a moment… Our Blessed Mother, and Her chaste spouse Saint Joseph TAUGHT GOD HIMSELF TO PRAY – and the miracle is, that He taught them back!
Because it was She who managed the practical day to day functioning of God Himself, when He was too young and too small to manage it Himself!
And there are two parts to this practicality… There is Her and then there is Him. Think of the example that She followed in ministering to God Himself, who was unable to minister to Himself due to the weakness of His human form… She humbled Herself through the perfect example of Humility that She tended to – in wiping the bottom and cleaning the mess of God Himself.
It is a humbling thought!
No wonder Our Blessed Mother, was a model of Humility. For She saw God’s own example of Humility and She imitated it!
In a practical sense that meant that Our Blessed Mother did the cooking… I doubt very much that Saint Simon Peter, or Saint Andrew, or Saint Matthew or any of the others – despite all their many talents – were doing the cooking for the group who were waiting inside that room after the death of Christ.
I imagine that the work of maintaining a household of men fell – as it still so often does – to the women of the house. And Our Blessed Mother numbered among them. Perhaps She too cooked and cleaned with them, offering up her efforts to please Her God?
Our Blessed Mother is important to us. Because She learned from God Himself, and She was given to us so that we could learn from Her too… Venerable Fulton Sheen said, “Let those who think that the Church pays too much attention to Mary, give heed to the fact that Our Blessed Lord Himself gave ten times as much of His life to Her as He did to His apostles.”
He has a point. After all, She was – in all practicality – the first person who God saw when He became Man, and surely the first one to clean Him too, and definitely the One who LOVED HIM THE MOST… And, it was to Her that God entrusted His own Holy Face.
For it was Our Blessed Mother who kissed the Holy Face of God!
And what could be more perfectly practical for a Mother to do than that?
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.