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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.

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Leila - May 11, 2009

I liked the scriptures in Luke when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, and Elizabeth's womb jumps for Joy ...that is what it is like when we 1st feel the miraculous life that God has blessed us to carry...The miracle months later which becomes God's hand in ours !
When I was worried with the birth of my second child and and I asked my own Mother how could I love my second child as much as my 1st my Mom told me "No matter how many children we have God stretches our heart to love each of our children!"

raydell - May 11, 2009

When our earthly Mother is no longer with us we can fill our emptiness with our Spiritual Mother, Mary. she becomes such an example for all.

CO mom - May 11, 2009

It is amazing how I just went through a tough couple of days with my 15 year old son and I open up this website and see "Mothering Like Mary" displayed. I have been praying about this and to see this helps me so very much. Mary, our Mother thank you for loving us and teaching us daily.

JanetRose - May 11, 2009

The last actual words of our Holy Mother that we have recorded in Scripture are at the wedding at Cana, when she says to the SERVANTS, regarding her Son: "Whatever He says to you, do it."
Holy Mother, may it be so, even in our world today.

maria - May 10, 2009

how wonderful reminder to All Mothers..full of truth and virtues.I hope 1 day I'll be a wife and mother and Mary for sure will be my Mentor.

Mo - May 10, 2009

Holy Mary,

Help mothers of teens to continue to love them during difficult times as they journey on their path to adulthood.
Help us to be more like you.

A.I.da Gama - May 10, 2009

In today's world where family life is
breaking down everywhere we need desperately Mothers to follow in the steps of our Holy Mother Mary.
Holy Mother we implore thee to help us to become virtous like you.