by Sister Jeannine Marie

“How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for me.” Psalm 116

Spiritual Motherhood. Where did it all begin? It was a cold winter night. Joseph had built a small fire with what little wood he could find scattered around the cave. In the gentle glow, Mary picked up the small Babe and held Him for the first time. He was cold and cried and, at that moment, as Mary looked down at His little face, she felt a wonder as never before. Can it be that He, the Creator of the stars, which He knew by name, the Almighty, whose power was without limit, needed her? What awesome mystery and gift! Mary knew she was a simple girl called for a mission, that each day since her fiat, had filled her with awe and gratitude. There was no road map, no reference point, no similar experience to call upon. Every moment of her life since that instant had been ever new. Now, in that quiet moment, earth looked down to Heaven.

We can all recall, I suppose, when we approached mom or dad and asked the question, “Where is God?”. “Everywhere” might have been a quick response, but among others, there was surely, “Up there.” For a child, that is quite adequate. There is no need for Thomas Aquinas or deep theological treatises. I am down here, and God is up there, and He has everything under control. God is all-powerful, and I am, well, let us just say, not exactly waiting for God to give me a call. This was true of Mary in a sense as well. Mary knew her unworthiness in being called to such a privilege, yet she knew that at that unique point in time, in a quiet cave, God needed her. As she gazed down into the face of her Son, she knew that her motherhood was not just for the Son of God but for all souls. Is this true for all of us?

Many are called to be natural mothers and join in God’s creative work of raising their children. They give themselves unselfishly to guide, teach, and lead their children to a deeper knowledge of God and ultimately to lead them on the path to heaven. Others are called to spiritual motherhood. They, too, join in God’s creative work by helping to nurture souls, and the marvel is, it is in the simplest of ways. The beauty of Christ’s Good News is that it is of its very nature something to be shared. If we have come to know Christ and the depth of His Heart of love, then we want others to share in that love. Our Lady understood this. She knew that the Baby she held in her arms was not just for her but for all. She is the greatest of spiritual mothers. She lived her quiet life with eyes open to discover the tiny ways that she could share God’s love and lead people closer to Him. We, too, can follow her example.

Every day we encounter souls – people in the store while shopping, children at school. We meet souls in a myriad of other ways. A simple smile, a helping hand, an understanding and listening ear. All are invitations to share the love of God. So let us take the opportunity this May, the month of Our Lady, to follow her example. And as we gaze into the face of each soul we encounter, let us, like Mary, experience the remarkable truth that in some small way God needs us!

On this Mother’s Day, we celebrate the gift of both our natural mothers and spiritual mothers. May each in her own unique way look down into the eyes of all whom she meets and see Jesus, her Heaven.

Happy Mother’s Day!