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  • Sarah Raad

Salome

“Do not be afraid of the darkness of the world, because the One who is calling you is ‘the light of the world,’ ‘the bright morning star’.” (Pope Saint John Paul II).

Christ meeting the wife and the sons of Zebedee (Paul Véronèse)

The other day, during my silent prayer, suddenly, it occurred to me to consider the example of Mary as mother…


There is nothing very unusual about this I suppose. After all if we think about the most perfect mother ever created we would think of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But the Mary in my mind was not the Blessed Vrigin Mary, it was another Mary about whom we hear in the Gospels.


You see, not very many women are mentioned by name in the Gospels. We are told of Mary who is the Mother of Our Blessed Lord, Elizabeth the mother of Saint John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene who was a demonic healed by Christ and later numbered among His disciples, Martha and Mary, who were the sisters of Lazarus and with whom Christ often stayed.


And we hear also of Mary Salome wife of Zebedee and mother of the apostles James and John…


And as I was praying the other day, it was upon this Mary that my mind turned… Mary Salome, wife of Zebedee and mother of James and John…


“The mother of Zebedee’s children (James and John) came to Jesus with her sons. She got down on her knees before Jesus to ask something of Him. He said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said, ‘Say that my two sons may sit, one at Your right side and one at Your left side, when You are King.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ They said, ‘Yes, we are able.’ He said to them, ‘You will suffer as I will suffer. But the places at My right side and at My left side are not Mine to give. Whoever My Father says will have those places.’” (Matthew 20:20-23).


This woman – Salome – had such extraordinary faith…


She trusted Christ with everything. I can imagine that scene. There she knelt in the dust on the floor. There she spoke with reverence in recognition of His glory to a man who appeared to all the world as a poor homeless carpenter.

She saw the truth. She saw it so clearly, she not only supported her children’s decision to follow Christ – she SENT HER CHILDREN TO HIM HERSELF... And not only that, she herself followed the Messiah. And she followed all of Him…

When He was poor – she and her children too were poor. When He travelled homeless and alone – she and her children too travelled homeless and alone. When He was crucified – she and one of her children, John, stood at the foot of His Holy Cross…


And later – after His death and resurrection – it was Salome who watched as her sons went out into the world to preach the Good News. She watched as her child James was martyred. And she watched as son John was persecuted in His name…


And I have been thinking of this very much over the last few days and weeks. Because mothers – all mothers – are very important for saints…


Years ago, my fourth child died before he was even born. I did not realise it at the time – blinded as I was by grief, anger and despair – but when that child died, he became my little saint. He became my intercessor in Heaven…


It took me years – and a literal conversion of faith through Grace and no merit of my own – to realise the honour that I was awarded when God took my child to Him before he could ever sin… For when my child died – on that day, even despite my terrible terrible misunderstanding, lack of faith, anger and grief – God made me the mother of a saint…


And when I reflect on that reality my soul trembles for the honour I have been given, which I could not even see…


For at the time, I was afraid. But now, I can see, what Pope Saint John Paul II meant when he said, “I repeat to you the Redeemer's words: ‘Duc in altum!’. Do not be afraid of the darkness of the world, because the One who is calling you is ‘the light of the world,’ ‘the bright morning star’.”


And knowing this, I pray to be the mother – not of only one saint – but of many… I pray that all of my children become saints, and I pray for the grace of sanctity myself – because mothers – all mothers – are very important for saints…


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

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