On the nativity of Mary, I can’t help but remember a Sunday long ago. It was a Mother’s Day, and it was before I became Catholic. My relationship with my own mother was very fractured at that point, and I was in the midst of a five-year period in which I did not talk to her or communicate with her at all. Now that I’m a mother, I can only imagine the pain this must have caused my mother. But it was at Mass, as Father was talking about the love Mary has for each of us, how she holds us and comforts us, that I found myself sobbing. Not just crying, mind you, but shaking and hiccupping and crying in great gulps. I had to go to the back of the church and I was unable to come back in. Afterwards, I was unable to tell anyone what came over me. I didn’t know myself. Looking back, I think Mary must have touched my soul, and my hard heart must have softened enough to let the light of God’s love shine just a bit onto it.

Motherhood is a gift to me now. I am so blessed to be on both ends, receiving and giving. My relationship with my mother has been mended for some years now, and I’m surrounded by other mother-figures in an almost endless community of saints-to-be. Our Blessed Mother walks with me, and comforts me so very often. And then there is the blessing of my own motherhood, adventure and struggle included. Motherhood takes strength and courage and support. It’s not for the faint-of-heart, but it’s for the weakest among us to become stronger through the graces God grants us, if only we take the time to pray and remember to Whom we belong.