June 6, 2022
by Susan Braddock
Creighton University - Retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
Lectionary: 572A

Genesis 3:9-15, 20 OR Acts 1:12-14
Psalm 87:1-2, 3 and 5, 6-7
John 19:25-34

Praying Ordinary Time

Prayer to Mary, Mother of the Church

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold  your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

We place great importance on peoples’ dying words. A testament, a legacy, they are remembered as summing up a person’s life and purpose.  Mary’s reaction to these words of her suffering son is not known, at least not put down in writing. In fact, there are very few of her spoken words recorded in scripture. As I reflect on her, I realize that what strikes me most about Mary is her presence. She is there. At the cross. At Pentecost. Often silent, always caring. Pondering. Once even telling the wine steward at the wedding in Cana, “Do whatever he tells you.” No matter that her son had just said to her “My hour is not yet come.” And he listened to Mary and performed his first miracle.

So when Jesus, in his agony on the cross,  bequeaths Mary to John (and us all), John responds quickly (at that hour), taking Mary into his home, forming what some call the first church. We can follow this blueprint for our own lives. Do what Jesus asks. Take Mary into our homes, our hearts. At this hour. Hail, Mary.

Growing up in a non-Catholic home, I had no image of Mary other than as a figure in the classic nativity scene. Before I could drive, my own mother, still in her pajamas and bathrobe, would drive me and a friend to church, then return for us when the service was over. I was grateful for that. Christmas time saw the neighborhood kids staging a nativity play – whoever had the youngest baby in the group would offer it, no matter boy or girl, to play the Baby Jesus. I never got to play Mary – always a shepherd. It was a high honor to be chosen to play Mary. Throughout the drama we could hear the adults choking back sobs, touched by the tenderness of  it all. There is something about Mary’s role as mother of Jesus that reaches into all hearts.  Hail Mary, full of grace.

After I joined the Catholic Church, I gradually came to know and appreciate Mary as a strong woman but a tender one. A woman Jesus loved and respected. A woman who formed him not only physically but undoubtedly spiritually as well. A woman we can all call “Mother,” bequeathed to us by her son. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

There are many varieties of earthly mothers, some more motherly than others. But we can all look to Mary always for tender, maternal care . She is present. She is ours.

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners , now and at the hour of our death.

Hail Mary, Gentle Woman by Carey Landry

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