Sunday, May 20, 2007

Oh Mary!

Last Sunday was Mother's Day. As a dutiful son, I made sure my card was in the mail and flowers were delivered. As a dutiful Christian, I made sure that my seat got a seat at the afternoon Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes.

During the service, we honoured another mother. I was surprised to learn that not only was Mary the mother of Jesus Christ (and by extention God) but she had also been given the titles Mother of the Church and Queen of the Universe. Children went down the aisle holding roses high and presented them to a small statue of Mary. A young woman followed, holding aloft a pillow with a tiny rose garland that was placed on the head of the Blessed Virgin Mary. All this adoration led me to do some thinking about this woman.

The first thing that of course came to my mind was the cartoon I had just read that morning. Two elderly women were sitting at a table looking curiously at two men at the table next to them. One said to the other "I don't understand. Their names are both Mary?" Like the names Nelly and Nancy, Mary has been also used by gay people to playfully refer to each other.

Then my mind went to a book I had been given by my cousin that I've blogged about before twice. That book started me thinking about Mary, not as the Blessed Virgin, but as a person, a human being. Now this line of thinking may be blasphemous to some readers but I believe if Mary is strong enough to handle it, you and your faith shouldn't feel threatened!

Thinking about how hard I try to please my mom and regret disappointing her, I have to wonder if Jesus was ever a disappointment to his mother. Mary probably had high hopes for her son, expecting (given the whole immaculate conception and wonderous birth bit) that He'd go farther in life than He did. Perhaps she dreamed He would become a politician or a king. Here her son was over thirty, certainly not getting any younger! Maybe she wished He would find a nice Jewish girl, settle down and have some grandkids. Maybe she told Him to get a good job, stop being homeless and wandering around from town to town acting like a crazy person. It probably was a bit embarrassing for her when her son was in jail like a common criminal and all her friends and neighbours knew about it. I can imagine the shame and/or outrage she must have felt when He was unfairly given the death penalty.

On the other hand, I suspect that Mary loved her son enough to be proud of Him. It couldn't have been difficult as He had so many good qualities and touched so many people's lives. Mary was probably around long enough to see the fruits of His labours and maybe she even played a more active role in the early church than we have been told. What I can say with certainty is that the Bible shows us that Jesus loved His mother very much and tried to please her, even when He didn't want to. Jesus very well might have gotten frustrated with His mother as well. I also like how while He was dying, Jesus brought together the two people the Bible tells us He loved most: his mother and his closest friend. This union is also something I deeply desire to bring about in my life. But for now, I'll appreciate the cards and presents that my mother and partner exchange.

Happy (Belated) Mother's Day everyone!


connie said...

loved this post for so many reasons.

sassiekiwi said...

Hi Dan

Hmmm ... not sure how to respond to this one! Nothing deep or profound to say! I do think Jesus did disappoint his Momma a few times! One that springs to mind is the time he hung back in the temple and they had to come looking for him. Imagine her frustration! Times when she wanted things from him and he responded with statements like, "my time is not yet" ... oh sure, I think Mary had her moments! She was FULLY human!

I think Mary was amazing in her trust and obedience to God. I like this post for the humanity in it ... reminds me of a Rich Mullins song about the humanity of Jesus ...

Boy like me, Man Like You
"Did you grow up hungry
Did you grow up fast?
did little girls giggle when you walked past?
Did you ever make angels in the winter snow ...
Did they tell you stories 'bout the saints of old
Stories about their faith ... "

When I was working in the Catholic school I was uncomfortable with ideas such as Mary being the Queen of Heaven ... don't see biblical basis for that one! But I sure appreciated her and her humanity and the amazing trust she had. Wow ... something to aspire to.

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