Becoming Holy

A Tribute to Mom

on August 15, 2013

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Today is the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother into Heaven~a day to celebrate her witness to life, her willingness to say, “Yes,” and her complete faith and trust in God.  My aunt, Sister Mary, gave a statue to me in the early years of our marriage depicting the Assumption of Mary.  It is a beautiful, wax-like statue, approximately 18 inches tall and very heavy.  It shows Mary being carried to heaven on the wings of many little angels.  Her mantle and robe appear windblown and her eyes look up, awaiting her God and Son.  For some reason, our Madison had a special love for this statue.  She would ask to “carry it” and that is exactly what she did.  She was two years old and barely taller than the statue.  She would lug this durable statue all over the house!  We had watched the CCC children’s movie, “Juan Diego:  Messenger of Guadalupe” and in it Juan refers to the Blessed Mother as, “my little Queen.”  Maddie talked to the statue in her best Spanish accent and would pack, “my little Queen” everywhere she went.  One day while packing Mary, Maddie tripped and “chinned” the statue, resulting in a 1/4 inch gash on the bottom of her chin.  I cannot help but smile at the memory of Maddie and Mary.  Madison’s middle name is Marie to honor Mary~perhaps her special connection is in part due to this.

We were blessed to go to Mass this morning to celebrate this great feast.  A memorable part of mass for me was during the prayers of the faithful.  The prayer that spoke to my heart was, “Let us follow Mary to Jesus.”  It reminds me of our journey to Lourdes with Gabbie.  The amazing part of our pilgrimage was the way Mary constantly led us to her Son.  At the Grotto, where Mary appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous, I expected a totally Marian experience.  My heart anticipated the entire Lourdes experience to focus on the Blessed Mother.  It was amazing to see Mary’s statue at the apparition site in a niche off to the right of the Grotto.  At the center was the altar~not for Mary~for Jesus.  This proud mom is off to the side, directing all who seek her to look center stage at her Son.  On the hillside is a chapel for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with a nearby trail for the Stations of the Cross~again following Mary to Jesus.  The entire pilgrimage was all about Jesus and His power to heal.  Mary revealed herself as a messenger of His grace and healing.  We felt the love of our mom in heaven as she drew us more deeply in relationship to her Son.

It is easy to relate to Mary as a mom~to understand how easy it is to step aside and to desire the spotlight to be on our children.  Her understanding of Jesus as the Savior made it all the more desirable to lead people to Him.  She watched Him from infancy~saw Him as He truly was~and knew that He was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!  In the song, “Mary, Did you know?” we hear the questions pointing out all the special things she would have known about her Son.  What an awesome privilege!  In return, her Son blessed her with incredible intimacy and Divine Love.  Today we celebrate from the Tradition of the Church that after Mary’s death, the apostles did not find her body in her tomb and held that she had been taken body and soul into Heaven.  Our priest reminded us today that this is God’s way of showing us that we, too, will be taken into Heaven, body and soul, at the last judgment.  Jesus did for His Mother what He will one day do for each of us.

We celebrated with a special breakfast of blueberry pancakes, sausage and eggs~blue to honor Mary.  The morning was shared with both sets of grandparents.  In celebrating, I hope to cultivate in our children a deep respect and appreciation for Our Lady~for her motherhood, her faith, her love of Jesus.  I pray that they will always know that we follow Mary to Jesus, our Savior.  I imagine the day when we are all together in heaven, sharing stories of our earthly life.  I can see Mary touching the scar on Maddie’s chin, now dazzling white, and laughing with delight.  I imagine all of us, listening to stories of Jesus’ childhood~awestruck at all the unrecorded events which Mary pondered in her heart.  I can see them in my mind’s eye~a mother and her Son, so in love with each other and with each of us.  I can do nothing but celebrate a love so profound that the world was changed with a simple, “yes.”

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