May is the Month We Celebrate Mary

Where would we be without Mary as our Mother?  Adam didn't have a mother, and look at all the trouble that got him into.  When we experience excruciating pain or fear, the person we cry out for is our mother.  What if we did not have the Mother of God to cry out to?  We would go in search of her.  Without the Mother of God to love, we would feel a huge emptiness - a lack - in our life.  Saint Teresa of Avila tells the story about when her mother died when she was only twelve years old.  She writes, "When I began to understand what I had lost, I went, afflicted, before an image of our Lady and besought her with many tears to be my Mother." - Peter John Cameron, O. P. (May's Magnificat)

Whenever I experienced "excruciating pain or fear," my mother was the last person I cried out to.

I never experienced my mother's love.  As far back as I can remember, she seemed to have a disdain for me, her only child.  There were no hugs or kisses and she rarely, if ever, smiled at me.  I was clueless as to why.  Yet, you're supposed to love your mother, so I tried until ...

One night (I think I was eleven years old) she and my dad came home from the corner tavern.  She was drunk and when she was drunk she was ten times meaner then when she was sober.  I woke up to her rantings thinking, "Now what?"

I couldn't even make out what she was saying until I heard her say quite clearly, "That kid doesn't love me!"  Talk about an epiphany.  My blood literally ran cold through my veins and time stopped.  I was wide awake now because the realization that I didn't love her felt like I was being swallowed up in an abyss.  Everything went black for a few seconds and when the shadows of that night came slowly back, I laid in my bed frozen, clutching our dog who had come to me to escape my mother's drunken tirade.

It was true.  I didn't love her.  Why would I?  When I was around eight years old, she told me that I didn't deserve a mother like her and that I should be in foster care.  I believed her.  Then.

When I was thirteen, she called me a whore.  I had no idea what it even meant.  I hadn't done anything, but she insisted that I did.  She was going on and on about how she couldn't sleep at night because of what I had done and what everyone would think about me.  At that moment, something snapped.  I rarely talked back to her, but I had had enough.  I looked straight at her and said, "I don't really care if you can sleep at night.  I sleep just fine."

I walked away from her, unable to hear her screams.  I didn't care anymore.  I was done.

Having my own children scared me to my very core, but my husband was confident that I would be a good mother.  I made mistakes.  I lost my temper.  I didn't always do it right.

I do remember doing what St. Teresa did.  Standing somewhere in my house, placing myself before the Mother of God and begging her to be my mother.  "How can I be a mother to my own children?  You have to help me!  I don't want to do to them what my mother did to me!"  I was terrified.

Through my prayers and her intercession, Mary was there for me.  She mothered me when I needed mothering even though I was a grown woman, wife and mother.  She heard my cries when I was afraid and comforted me when I was in pain.  To this day, I "Hail Mary" my way through everything.

Dearest Mother, you heard my cries in the night either from pain or fear long before we met.  When I reached out to your Son, you revealed yourself to me in that quiet way of yours.  You stayed with me during labor, during surgeries, and during grief.

You stood with me while my hand shook as I put the key in the lock of my mother's door, never knowing what to expect.  You gave me the strength to walk through that door to take care of her despite the fact that she continued her verbal wrath.

And you are with me now as I continue to heal from that wrath but reap the joy of my own children who are healthy and happy.

Where would I be without you Dearest Mother?  I don't know.  Your Son came into my life so I'll never have to know.  What I do know is that I wouldn't have been able to do any of it without you.

I love you.

Your eternally grateful daughter.



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  • When I was young my mother told us that Mary was the mother of God, but also our mother as well, meaning someone to turn to in times of trouble as an intercessor to Jesus. (This is so mis-understood that I hate to post it, but there is no room or time for explanations.)

    The same with Jesus and Joseph. For many, they are abstractions, the same as Greek mythology and the gods. But a careful reading and reflection shows that they are infused with all the human characteristics and failings as us; yet they "fought the good fight" in a human way, in order to honor God and fulfill His will. This humanness of the Holy Family is what gives many the strength to carry on against incredible odds, the same as what you have done.

    Ave Maria!

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Ave Maria indeed! Thank you Richard for your thoughtful comment and for stopping by. It's appreciated. ;-)

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