Our Blessed Mother is FILLED with Sanctifying Grace – what a comfort that is to me!
For much of my time, when I pray, it is for strength and guidance and patience and wisdom to be the best mother that it is possible to be. Of all the roles that I have had in my life – and there have been many – the role of mother is the one that weighs most heavily on my soul.
Though I have wanted to be a mother for as long as I remember, and though I love my children more dearly than the air that I breathe, Motherhood is not a vocation for the faint-hearted – though much in our society implies that it is!
My role as a mother – or indeed the role of any parent – consists primarily, though not exclusively, in the formation of their offspring.
What does that mean?
Well, it means that parenting involves more than making sure the children eat their dinner and brush their teeth. Parenting involves more than providing a safe environment, opportunity for education, and a place to sleep. It goes beyond visits to the doctor or orthodontist. There is more to it than providing them with extra-curricular activities and play dates with their friends.
Most important of all my tasks in the role of motherhood, is the formation of my children… And it is this responsibility of formation that weighs so heavily upon my soul.
I must teach them to be good. I must teach them to be better than me!
It really is the blind leading the blind – as they say…
I worried about this responsibility very much, until a beautiful priest wisely told me… “Relax Sarah. Remember, they are God’s children first. He is looking after them too. It is not all your responsibility!”
Well… That calmed me down a little!
And yet, still I feel this calling to work harder and push more and do everything it is in my power to do to help them to be good!
After all, there is a reason that the parents of Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus – Louis and Zélie Martin of Alençon – are called BLESSED! I cannot forget that Saint Monica’s sanctity was gained through the prayers she prayed for the formation of her son – Saint Augustine – who later became a great Saint and is called a Doctor of the Church.
So, parents it seems, still have an important role to play, even though our Eternal Parent protects us all.
I recently read a lovely article that described the 18th century personal revelations about the Holy Family that were revealed to Servant of God Mother Maria Cecilia Baij. Baij entered the Benedictine community of Montefiascone when she was 20 years old and remained there (later as abbess) until her death at 72. Her writings of her personal revelations (of which there are 75 pages) were retained by her religious community, but were not published until the 1920s following their discovery by a local priest and authorisation by the Pope Benedict XV.
These personal revelations – which Church doctrine does not REQUIRE us to believe, but which have been declare free of moral and doctrinal error – explore Saint Joseph’s early life, in preparation for his role as head of the Holy Family. They also detail the workings of the Holy Family.
For example, beautifully, in her writings Baij reveals that Our Blessed Mother often sang to her husband when he was tired after work.
“He once remarked to Mary: ‘My spouse, your singing alone is enough to bring comfort to every afflicted heart! What consolation you gave me through it! What relief for my weariness! What a great joy it is for me to hear you speak or sing! …’”
According to these personal revelations, such was the humility of Our Blessed Mother that her reply served as an additional opportunity to give glory to God... “‘God has poured these graces into my heart,’ she told him, ‘in order that you might be comforted and obtain relief in your tribulations and affiliations.’…”
This is a Mother to whom we should aspire! For she is surely filled with Sanctifying Grace!
That is what we refer to in the Hail Mary when we pray… “Hail Mary, FULL OF GRACE”. That fullness of Grace refers to the Sanctifying Grace of Our Blessed Mother – the Grace that consumed her soul so that the “Lord is with… (her). And she is “Blessed among women” and it is this BLESSEDNESS of Our Blessed Mother that makes her worthy of containing the “Blessed … fruit of… (her) womb.”
Because the Grace in Our Lady’s soul Sanctified her – made her God’s “Handmaiden” and as His “Handmaiden”, Our Lady was completely FULL of Grace.
And this sanctification was necessary for her – not only as Mother of Our God – but also as OUR MOTHER, for She was given to us by God, when God suffered most - UPON THE CROSS.
With Our Lady, it is most definitely NOT a case of the proverbial BLIND leading the BLIND. It is rather, the BLESSED leading the BLIND.
That is why the second part of the prayer continues, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners.” She is a mother who can help her children… “Now and at the hour of our death…”.
Now… if I only I had the Grace and the Goodness to be a little more like My Blessed Mother and little less like Me!
How lucky my children really would be!
Thank God, we have Our Blessed Mother – for I know that if she is my Mother, then my children really are in GOOD HANDS!
For with prayer everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.