Hail Mary, With Broken Fingers


Hail Mary, with broken fingers
There is goo stuck on you.
Blessed are you as you sit over our band aids,
And blessed is the child who cut his finger and needs one.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
I am sorry you are sticky,
I promise to be gentle when I scrub it off tomorrow.

Yes, this is how our Blessed Mother sits in our home.  She stands protectively over top the plastic drawers that hold our band aids at the end of the hallway.  She is subject to grubby fingers rubbing her head, coloring on her dress, and breaking her outstretched fingers.

Maybe right now you are cringing inside at the thought of our lovely Mother having to endure these conditions.  Maybe you are thankful to hear another family confessing that Mary is displayed sticky and broken fingered just like in your own home.  Whatever your thoughts, don’t judge me just yet!

For a moment I want you to travel back in time to when Jesus was a small boy.  Call Doc Brown, turn the year back to 5 AD on the dial on the Delorean dashboard, and pray that the Flux Capacitor does its job!  When we get there we find the young Mother Mary with her small son Jesus.  He’s filthy and grubby from playing in the mud, he’s fallen and skinned his knee and his mother comes to his aid.  She covers his wound, wipes his tears, and kisses his cheek.  He reaches up and wraps his dirty little hands around her neck, pulls her close and says, “You are the best mama in the world!  I love you!”  Now her face is smudged with dirt, her veil muddy from kneeling, and her heart fuller from the love she has received from her precious son Jesus.

Of course we can’t know for certain this scene ever took place as the Bible doesn’t record all the things that went on in Jesus’ life from the beginning till the end.  However, given the fact that children are children and we know Jesus was both human and divine, we can safely assume that this scene probably happened many times over in Jesus and Mary’s life.

So what does this have to do with Mary, broken fingered and sitting on our band aid drawers at the end of our hallway?  You see, Jesus gave his mother to be our mother as he hung on the cross.  As he was dying he said, “Woman, behold your son.  And then he said to his disciple, “Behold your mother.”  John 19:26-27.  The Church has always taught that at this moment he was not only giving Mary to John for John to look after, but was giving her to us as well.  He wants us to take her into our homes and include her in our lives.

Maybe he didn’t foresee his mother getting sticky and colored on but he definitely wanted her to be a part of our lives.  He wanted us to treat her not only as his mother but as ours as well.  As a mom I know that I am the best at my job when I am on the floor playing, getting dirty and having sticky fingers squeeze my cheeks.  I feel most alive when I am interacting on a very personal level with my children.  I imagine Mary feels the same way.

We have other statues of Mary that are not covered in sticky fingerprints, pictures that hang reverently on the walls, beautiful prayer cards and a dozen rosaries hanging, waiting for us to pray with them as a family.  They are all reminders of our beautiful, blessed Mother.  I know she feels honored in our home.  But I don’t want her to just feel honored.  I want her to feel loved, wanted and needed.  I can think of no better way to achieve this than to make sure my children interact intimately with her.  I love to see little ones with their chubby arms wrapped gently (and sometimes not so gently) around Mary, talking to her in a language only she can understand and then slobberly kissing her just as they would anyone who means a lot to them.

I’m certain that Mary loves our household.  I think she likes being the protector of band aids.  I know she loves those sticky hands that hold her tightly and then caress her cheeks.  As a mother, how could she not?  She bandaged Jesus’ knees and felt his sticky, dirty hands caress her cheeks lovingly.  I can only believe that when our children do this she is reminded of her own son so many years ago.

Jesus asked that we take Mary as our mother, that we respect her and love her.  I can think of no better way to show our love for our beautiful Mother than making sure she is included in our everyday lives through prayer, contemplation and yes, through sticky fingers grabbing, coloring, caressing, holding and sometimes breaking our precious Mother.  Just as I love those signs of love, I have no doubt that all the attention Mary receives in our home makes her feel included and loved… just as Jesus had hoped.

How do you show love and honor for Mary in your homes?

5 Replies to “Hail Mary, With Broken Fingers”

  1. HI: Great article. I have a holy lhour place in my living room and I always visit with Mary, Jesus and the Holy spirit and St. Micheal. I have a very difficult sister-in-law and she is always trying to establish supremacy in my home. She hasn’t been allowed in our home. One day her kids were coming over and so I invited them to come over with them. Within a week they had talked my husband into burying their dog outside my dining room window. We always bury our animals in the pasture. I could handle burying it but she also wanted a 3′ sign on it so I would have to look at it everyday. I sat down and told Mary I could live with her dog buried there but not the sign. The next morning the sign was down and there had been no wind. My husband sees it down and runs out to put it back up. When he came in I told him about talking to Mary and the sign had been down. He waited until I wasn’t around and then moved the sign so it is semi-laying down in the crook of a tree where it really can’t be seen.

    I try to talk with them everyday, it doesns’t always work with my time schedule, but I feel if you really want to live with Mary, Jesus, St. Micheal and the Holy spirit visiting with them as your best friend is really a way to feel their blessing and grace.

  2. The Blessed Mother is AWESOME! I was abandoned by my birth mother and grew up with an abusive adoptive mother from whom I am now estranged, so it was not difficult for me at all to embrace Our Blessed Mother when I converted to Catholicism. She has helped me so many times, particularly with “female” issues. And when my 4th child died at 18 weeks three years ago, and I was very angry with God, the Virgin was someone that I took my pain to. I knew she did not have the sovereign power that Jesus does to give and take life and although I knew she will always submit to God’s will, I also knew she understood the pain of losing her son. I credit my loving Mother for soothing my heart and helping me to accept the loss and stay close to Jesus.

    We have beautiful pictures of Mary all over the house, ask her for prayers daily (and thank Jesus for giving her to us!), and we have even named our second daughter after her: Maryam Cana. We also had her consecrated to the Blessed Virgin on her first birthday. The other day, our now 7 yo daughter said, “Mom, I can’t believed I’m named after Jesus’ mother! That is so cool!” I tell her all the time that she’s so blessed to have such a patron saint, but it was so wonderful to hear she thinks that, too!!

  3. A wonderful post! I believe our Holy Mother agrees with you, for I also think she deserves reverence but also wants that love. I hope I can inspire a great devotion to Mary in the hearts of any children I may have one day in the same way you have inspired it in your children!

    God Bless!

  4. I recently came across this site – and I have to say I absolutely love it!
    I had a beautiful Mary statue that was given to me by a friend. I loved that statue and had it on a shelf with a lot of other religious articles. One day my cat decided she was going to go on said shelf and of course the ONE thing that fell was my Mary statue. Not only did it fall but it shattered into a bunch of little pieces. I was actually crying while I picked up the pieces.
    I haven’t found a statue since. It’s sad. I miss having her stand there.

  5. Thank you for your comments! I’m always happy to hear of others who love our Blessed Mother so much too!

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