Last year, the night before Mother's Day, my police officer husband, Mike, was on patrol and got in very late so he didn't go to church with us that morning. We got to Mass right on time (usually we are early) and had to sit where we couldn't see well. Isabella, my 3 year-old, was a handful — to put it mildly. We made it through Mass though and I was relieved. Time to go home, turn the kids over to my husband, and enjoy my well-earned Mother's Day relaxation. But when we got home, Mike informed me that he was sick. He wasn't going to occupy the kids outside while he did yard work like he had planned to and that meant I was in charge of the kids all day. No break for me? It was Mother's Day after all; wasn't I entitled to a break?
I ended up spending the day cleaning. While I was cleaning, I started thinking about those bracelets that say WWJD? (What would Jesus Do?) I was thinking that as mothers we should also be thinking WWMD? (What would Mary Do?) Would she complain that her husband was sick and couldn't give her a break? Would she complain that the house needed cleaning? No; she would just do it. I often wonder what Mary might do if she was in my shoes. Clearly Jesus was no "regular" child but she did have worries (think of Jesus missing and turning up at the temple). But would she handle her struggles the same way I do? If we could peer back would she be yelling at Jesus when she was frustrated, would she ask God why He isn't helping out more, providing her with the things she just knows she needs? Did she get so tired that she just wanted to run away for a couple days? What would Mary do?
On that Mother's day I pondered anew that Mary was not only the Lord's mother but she was given to us as our mother as well. God sent his angel to tell her that she was favored by God and that if she were willing she would bear the Christ-child. Though she questioned how that could be since she had never known a man, she never questioned God choosing her; she never said no, that she couldn't handle what God wanted to give to her, wanted her to do for Him, for us. She quietly said that she was willing. What courage and strength that had to take. When I think of me feeling sorry for myself that I didn't get a break, I think of her — her plate was so much bigger and piled so much higher. As a mother and Christian she is someone I look up to; we all should.
She knew that her son would be sacrificed. She didn't know how or when but she understood his role in salvation. Could we tell God yes, even though it meant taking our child? She knew the feelings of joy, happiness and love for her child but she was also to shoulder the burden of assured persecution and tremendous loss. She had amazing strength and fortitude. For mothers, she is an excellent role model.
Christians could not ask for a greater role model. She was the first Christian, obeying God without hesitation. How many Christians can say that they always obey God without hesitation or doubt? Mary raised her son to the best of her ability, relying on God to help her through. While we don't know much about Jesus' childhood, we do know that Mary was there holding His hand, wiping His tears and doing all the "mother things" that we do for our children. We can imagine her defending Him, consoling Him and holding Him when He was scared or hurt. Following Mary's example, we pray that we accept all that God gives us and expects of us with the unwavering faith that she had.
When I feel overwhelmed in my struggles, I only have to think of Mary's sacrifice. She raised her boy to be the One who would save us all, die a horrible death, open the gates of Heaven — all for the love of man. She watched her Son carry His Cross and fall to the ground and wasn't able to help Him. She watched Him be nailed to the Cross and die there. Her trials and burdens were so much more than I could ever comprehend. I am thankful for my Mother Mary and that she said yes to God's plan that she conceive and bear our savior Jesus Christ.
On this Mother's Day we should honor our own mothers for giving us life, working and sacrificing for us. We should also honor Mary and her incredible strength, sacrifice and love. We honor her best by seeking to be more like her, saying yes to God, putting our lives in His hands, and trusting that He will always see us through.
I hope to have a restful Mother's Day this year, but whether I do or not, on this and every other day, as I deal with my own struggles, I hope to remember always to ask, "What would Mary do?"