Mama’s boy

Posted on September 8, 2010


In story-telling, what is often most interesting is what happens in between. The Gospels do not talk about how Jesus grew up, but the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen poses the cutest questions about those hidden years. In his prayer-poem “Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue,” the child-like persona asks Mary:

Did you lift Him up sometimes
Gently on your knee?
Did you tell Him stories of the world
Like mother did to me?

And when He fell, did you lift him up
And make everything all right?
And did you tell Him
His prayers at night?

As we celebrate the birth of the Blessed Mother today, let us reflect not only on Mary but more so on God, who emptied Himself and chose to be cared for by a human mother. We always think of Jesus as a preacher, miracle-worker or leader, but we oftentimes forget that He was not automatically so from the time of His birth. One like us in body and soul, He had to grow up, learn and develop. Like us, it all began in the home of his parents, Joseph and Mary.

In his best-selling book “The Road Less Traveled,” renowned psychiatrist Scott Peck explains the influence of a parent on a child. He writes, “Since we don’t have the benefit of comparison when we are young, our parents are godlike figures to our childish eyes. When parents do things a certain way, it seems to the young child the way to do them, the way they should be done.”

Jesus modeled himself after and honored His mother. God, after all, cannot break His own commandment, “Honor your father and mother (Ex. 20, 12),” but can only fulfill it to the highest degree. As followers of Jesus, we ought to honor what He honors, and today we honor the most exalted creature of God – His mother.

Jesus extends their mother-and-son relationship to us, His beloved disciples. “When Jesus saw the Mother and the disciple whom he loved, He said to the mother, ‘Woman, this is your son. Then he said to the disciple, ‘There is your mother’ (Jn. 19, 26-27).” As John took her into his home, let us take the Blessed Mother into our own.

As we do so, she does not keep the glory for herself – she who calls herself the handmaid of the Lord (Lk. 1, 38) – but instead she tells us: “My soul proclaims the greatness of  the Lord, my spirit exalts in God my savior! He has looked upon his servants in her lowliness, and people forever will call me blessed (Lk. 1, 46-48).”

Mary will always point us to Christ, as she said to the servants in the Wedding at Cana: “Do whatever he tells you (Jn. 2, 5).” For when we stay close to the mother, we stay closer to the Son.