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By Mary Louis
Mary was the perfect role model of a mother's love, which she expressed at least seven ways in scripture. We can look to her for inspiration as we mother our children. Here are seven ways in which Mary provides a model for "mom."
1. The Gospel of Luke (1:27-38) contains the account of Mary's acceptance of God's will. "Mary said, 'Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.'" We, too, can say "yes" to God's will. Daily thanksgiving for His will can fill our hearts with love to give to our children.
2. Mary endured adversity. Three quick examples: We read in Luke 2:1-7 of her journey to Bethlehem. Being advanced in pregnancy and traveling on a donkey was surely uncomfortable. She also gave birth in a stable. She didn't grumble. She accepted the situation. As mothers, we also suffer adversity, and we should likewise receive God's grace without grumbling. Furthermore, in the Gospel of Matthew (2:13) we read that the Holy Family had to flee to Egypt for the protection of the Child. Later, after Herod died (Matthew 2:19-23), the Holy Family had to move again to return to Nazareth. The ultimate adversity for Mary was watching her Son die on the cross. As mothers, we also suffer adversity, maybe not to the extreme that Mary did. Our goal is to accept the adversity with God's grace without grumbling. That is a tall order but possible when we seek Him daily. We become stronger women when we rely on God. The stronger we become, the easier we can give our children a more perfect love.
3. We read in Luke 2: 21-24 that Mary kept the law in the circumcision and naming of Jesus, going to the temple for the purification rite, and taking Jesus to the temple when he was 12. Obedience to God strengthens our spiritual life, which makes us more fit as moms.
4. Mary pondered what she was told about her Son (Lk 2:19, 2:33, and 2:49-51). We mothers can draw from this strength. Through obedience to God and by meditating on His Word, we can love our children and others with holy love.
5. Mary taught Jesus to be caring. Scripture tells us, "Jesus advanced in wisdom and in age and favor before God and man" (Lk 2:52). How else would He learn except that He was taught? We need to set an example for our children in our devotion to God.
6. After Jesus became an adult, Mary knew her ministry as a mother was not ended. She conveyed her love to Jesus at the wedding at Cana. The Gospel of John (2:1-11) describes how Mary gave her Son a little nudge at the beginning of His ministry. Just as mother birds have to give their chicks a gentle shove to set them on their first flight from the nest, so Mary encouraged Jesus to start displaying His Father's glory with His first miracle. Like Mary at Cana, we must encourage our children with increasing responsibilities to "take flight" and discover their salvation in their relationship with God and the vocation to which He has called them.
7. Finally, we know from John 19:26-27 that Mary was with Jesus during His crucifixion, faithfully loving Him to the end. Just as Mary was faithful in all stages of her Son's life, so we must nurture our children when they are young and remain faithfully loving them during their entire lives.
As the saying goes, "Motherhood is the toughest job we'll ever love." But Mary shows us the way. Happy Mother's Day on May 10!
Mary Louis, a Marian Helper, lives in Sonora, Calif.