Like most Catholic moms, I aspire to emulate the Blessed Mother in all that I do and all that I am. That is a daunting task, but one that we should all challenge ourselves to do.
These are a few reasons why I will never measure up:
She never sinned. I can’t even come close to that. I am deeply flawed. I want my children to do as I say, not as I do. What an amazing role model Mary is for us. Try as I might, I fall short of being that amazing person I want my children to think I am. Mary is all that and more.
I yell too much. Yes, I am a vociferous mom. I think that by raising my voice, I communicate more effectively somehow, which of course is not true. When he was seven, my oldest son once said, “I’ll bet Mary never yelled at Jesus.” To which I replied, “She was a better mother than me. Besides, I’ll bet Jesus never peed all over the toilet seat either!” She is known as the “gentle mother.” This is fortunate, because I need her gentle nature as a guide.
I am impatient. Mary waited 33 years to watch her son do what He was put on earth for. I lack this patience with my children quite often. Where will they go to college? What will they become in life? Not that I want these things to come so quickly that I miss out on enjoying the here and now, but I want to make sure my children will be comfortable and happy.
I worry too much about what others think about me. Mary was so certain when she said yes to God and allowed her obedience to supersede her self-consciousness. She let her faith rule over her human pride; she consented to be the Mother of God, despite the social repercussions.
Now here are a couple of ways that I try to come a little closer…
I love other children like my own. I am a teacher, and God has given me the gift of looking at other people’s children with the same love and commitment as I do at my own children. They make me happy, like my own kids do, but they frustrate me as well, because I want the best for and from them. I imagine the Blessed Mother also feels this way about us, the children she has taken as her very own.
I stand by my children. When it seems like the world has turned its back on any of my children—a lost friendship, a broken heart, or a broken arm— I am right there through it all. Their pain is my pain, just as I imagine how Mary suffered during her son’s Passion. I am certain she would have taken her son’s place had she been able. I would suffer a million times over to keep my children from pain, but I also know, just as Mary did, that this suffering is at times necessary for my children, like it was essential for Jesus.
I know my children better than they know themselves. I am reminded of the Wedding Feast at Cana. Mary knew that was the right moment for Jesus to step forward and begin to reveal Himself. I would like to think I know what my children are capable of and when the time is right for them to do what it is they need to do in order to grow—from potty training to taking off the training wheels, or applying to a particular college. Moms know who their children are and sometimes we need to nudge our kids in the right direction.
I lost my son at the zoo. Mary lost hers at the temple. I am sure she was as frantic and worried as I was. It took me a matter of a couple of minutes to find my son, while Jesus was gone for three days. However, as my three year old was looking at monkeys, Jesus was teaching the elders. Not quite the same, but I find comfort in knowing I was not the only one to lose track of a child, and if the Blessed Mother could do it…
I am a “mama bear” when I need to be. I love this saying by St. Bonaventure: “Men do not fear a powerful hostile army as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary.” She is fierce and protective of us, her children. I am protective and nurturing in this way, I hope. She defends us from evil, and demons cower at the mention of her name. She is “that mom”, the one with whom nobody messes, because she is adamantly defensive of those in her care.
Mary radiates love and compassion and comes to our aid whenever we ask. She is a loving, patient mother whom I aspire to be. I want to be patient and trusting and joyous, just like she was, but I fall short more often than not. What I do hope is that my children know I love them with every fiber of my being and I would walk through fire for them. I am their advocate and biggest fan. Mary is our advocate; she was the first Christian and Jesus’ biggest fan.
Charla is a life-long Catholic, married since 1995. She has three children who attend Catholic school and university. Charla has been teaching high school English literature at the same Catholic high school she attended for over 15 years. She has Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Latin American Studies, and Secondary Education, as well as a Masters degree in Education. Charla has served as a lector and Eucharistic minister at her parish and school. She enjoys reading, cooking, running, and all activities involving her children. Her special devotions are to the Blessed Mother, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and the Holy Rosary.