A Mary Moment Monday post
I know that, as a parent, I am my children’s first teacher. I know it as an intellectual reality, as an indisputable fact.
But what I need, so often, is to know it in my heart.
That desire, that longing, repeatedly leads me to Mary. It makes me gaze up at her and, if I’m lucky, it helps me to see that she’s not up on a pedestal, distant and perfect, but is, instead, crouching down to meet me eye-to-eye.
Mary probably crouched down to talk to Jesus when he was a young boy. Maybe she needed to explain something to him or maybe he was bringing her a discovery he had found outside.
Before bedtime, did she lean over for those sweet little boy kisses and hugs? When he was hurt — and what boy doesn’t scrape his knees on an hourly basis? — she must have been the one to soothe him with her embrace.
And when he had questions in those young years, when he wondered about the workings of the world and the composition of mud, it would have been as natural as breathing to go to his mother. There probably came a time when he went to Joseph more than Mary, but in those early years, when his knees were scabby and his fingernails caked with dirt, it would have been Mom’s job more often than not.
So what makes me think I’m better than Jesus? What makes me think I can’t go to her?
For one thing, I can’t see her.
Or can I?
Can I close my eyes and imagine her? Can I look back over my day and see how the hand of God was at work through the people who helped me and ministered to me? Can I find her love in the eyes of the very ones I am called to teach, to lead, to cherish?
Mary’s role as teacher didn’t stop when Jesus grew up, or even when he had ascended back to heaven. The disciples must have consulted with her frequently and I’m sure the other women must have turned to her. Can you see her at the village well or at the stream during washing day, sharing her quiet faith and deep humility, offering to help the young mother with a toddler and one on the way? Do you think she started a new mom dinner program in Nazareth? Could she have founded the first ever women’s prayer group in her kitchen, performed while kneading the next day’s bread?
Mary teaches me by her example and by her involvement in my day-to-day life. She doesn’t always get credit, because I usually thank God for the unexpected blessings and the abundance of help that always comes when I need it and least expect it.
She doesn’t mind, though. In fact, I think she prefers it that way. Her job, after all, is to lead us all back to God. She’s the arrow pointing heavenward, the road leading to paradise, the coach cheering us to sainthood.