Friday, May 11, 2012

For Mother's Day

I am thinking of my Mother as Mother's Day is this Sunday. I am thinking also of Mary, the Mother of the Church and our spiritual Mother. Fr James McTavish in an article titled “Mary, Mother of Mercy: Christ the Power of Merciful Love,” (Homeletic & pastoral Review. March 21, 2012) writes:

“Where does the title, 'Mary, Mother of Mercy,' come from? We have many popular prayers that speak of Mary as Mother of Mercy. For example, 'Hail holy Queen, Mother of mercy' … and, later: 'turn, then, your eyes of mercy towards us.'  In another prayer, the Memorare, we hear: 'To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful, O Mother of the Word incarnate, despise not my petitions but in your mercy, hear and answer me.'  Moreover, in the lives of the saints, we hear Mary referred to as 'Mother of mercy.' Once, St. Maria Faustina Kowalska had a vision of the Blessed Mother. Mary said to Sr. Faustina: 'I am not only the Queen of Heaven, but also the Mother of Mercy, and your Mother' (Diary of St. Faustina,330). 

“Also, Pope John Paul II refers to Mary as Mother of Mercy in his 1980 encyclical, Dives in Misericordia: "Mary is also the one who obtained mercy in a particular and exceptional way … Mary, then, is the one who has the deepest knowledge of the mystery of God’s mercy. She knows its price, she knows how great it is. In this sense, we call her the 'Mother of mercy' (§9).

“Note that the Hebrew word for mercy, rahamim, comes from rehem, [meaning] 'a mother’s womb.' God’s mercy must have something of a maternal warmth about it—unconditional, intimate, and nurturing love, symbolized by a mother’s womb. God’s mercy is, therefore, tender and affectionate, life-giving and indispensable.  God chose Mary to reveal this merciful love to us. Therefore, we need Mary in our lives as Christians...

“God has given us [Jesus'] mother for a reason. At the foot of the cross, Jesus said to his beloved disciple, St. John: 'Here is your Mother,” and he said to Mary: 'Here is your son' (Jn 19:27). Mary was able to stand firm at the foot of the cross—a merciful love is a strong love! Merciful love is capable of withstanding the cross; capable of withstanding difficulties and challenges. How many times in our lives are we in need of that firm and strong love of Mother Mary?”