The thing about my mother’s love was that she was always on my side, yet she always taught me to be concerned about others and put that concern into action. Her love changed as our circumstances changed, but the love itself remained constant. Her last words to each of her five children was to tell us again that she loved us.
Far from being sentimental, maternal love is a force binding families and communities. There’s truth in the proverb, ‘The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.’ What mothers do is teach children to love. There is no greater task in society; sadly our economics-driven world devalues mothers’ love.
Mary the mother of Jesus loved her Son. She stayed by his side from his birth to his shocking death, and on the cross, Jesus indicated how great her influence had been on him when he commended her to John’s keeping (John 19:26-27).
When we celebrate Mary on August 15 each year, we celebrate her maternal love as it unites with the power of divine love. When maternal love and divine love come together, love expands in every way!
The divine love is the love of the Creator, and the Creator’s love sings in the web of love with every created being. The wondrous development of the baby in the womb, the connections between all animals and humans, between all life and the environment, between this earth and all the planets and stars and galaxies: We are all created for each other in a great outpouring of creative love.
The Creator’s love blends with mothers’ love in such a way that we all are nurtured by our being-in-God.
The divine love is the love of the Spirit, blowing through us and revealing God to us. The love of the Spirit inspires us to delve into our souls and find Christ hidden as a treasure in the depth of our being. The love of the Spirit inspires to share with others the richness of life in God. The Spirit gives us discernment, joy, peace and self-control.
The Spirit’s love blends with mothers’ love to create for believers a family, a safe community to express and grow in our faith. When we experience our church community as people who love us for ourselves and for the sake of Christ, then Holy Spirit’s love and mothers’ love have united.
When my mother was dying, I was fortunate that she could tell me then that she loved me. I don’t remember what I said in response, but I felt gratitude, so I could have said ‘Thank you.’ But a much more commensurate response would have been not only ‘Thank you’, but also ‘I love.’ Not just ‘I love you,’ which was true, but because of you, ‘I love.’
As we remember the earthly Mother of Jesus, we too can be grateful for mothers’ love and we can marvel in response, ‘Yes, I love too.’