By Karen Sheehy
As women of WINE (Women In the New Evangelization), we look to Mary as the perfect role model for physical and spiritual motherhood. Mary’s “yes” allowed for Christ’s entry into the world, instructed us to “do whatever He tells us to do” and demonstrated the courageous love of a mother watching her Son’s cruel death, (LK 1:38, JN 2:5, and 19:25). Her presence at Pentecost, however, also indicated the simultaneous and counterintuitive hope made available through her Son’s Resurrection and Ascension into heaven, (AC 1:14). Jesus died on the Cross for our sins, but He also rose from the dead so that we might have eternal life. He rose so that death may be defeated once and for all. This is the counter cultural joy and hope of Christian discipleship. This is the “Good News” or Gospel.
As women, and physical or spiritual mothers, our bodies, minds, hearts and souls long to bring life into the world. The gift of the feminine genius is a crucial part of our divine design. It makes today’s first reading hard to stomach. “Son, have pity on me, who carried you in my womb for nine months, nursed you for three, brought you up, educated and supported you to your present age. Do not be afraid of this executioner…. accept death, so that in the time of mercy, I may receive you again,” in paradise, (2MC 7:27 and 39). Next to Mary, I have always found the Old Testament Jewish woman, highlighted in today’s first reading, to be the truest and most profoundly faithful of spiritual mothers. She confronted her deep sorrow and son’s pending death with courage, hope and certitude in the joy of Resurrection awaiting her entire family.
I have facilitated Jeff Cavins’ Great Adventure Bible Timeline for many years. My mom, in fact, took one of my first classes. I remember her words, as if they were yesterday, when we were discussing this very story during the Maccabean revolt time period. I was praising the son’s willing acceptance of martyrdom, when she said, “I could not encourage you to accept martyrdom. It would be too hard for me as your mother.” Three years later, after we watched her mother’s joyful passing from this world to the next, she gained a new perspective. With tears in her eyes, she said, “Karen, I finally get it. I know that it would be difficult to survive your death. However, despite these struggles, I now know that I would be there, cheering you on, as you made your final journey home. I saw you do this for my mother, and I would do the same.”
This was a simple but powerful thing that my mother said. It was a true testament to Christian certitude, and an example of spiritual motherhood at its finest. Lord, I know that your Kingdom is not of this world and that you have chosen me “to go and bear fruit that will last,” (JN 15:16). Therefore, “hide me in the shadow of your wings,” (PS 17:8). Ensure that “my steps have been steadfast in your paths” so that I may hear the words, “well done, good servant,” (PS 17:5 and LK 19:17). Lord, I want to “behold your face” and “be content in your” eternal presence, so that I may join You and my family one day in paradise, (PS 17:15) Amen.
About the Author:
Karen Sheehy is a devout Catholic, wife and mother, motivational speaker, blogger and developer of spiritualsafariguide.com, your passport to a world of spiritual inspiration and understanding. To learn more about Karen Sheehy and her upcoming book entitled, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love, visit http://www.spiritualsafariguide.com
Oh my gosh! How beautiful! Thank you, Karen, for this wonderful article!
Thank you Jane.
Beautiful! So important. This gives us a clear look at one of the corporal works of mercy – “to bury the dead.” Here at the assisted living residence of the Little Sisters of the poor, I watch the entire community of sisters stop what ever it is they are doing to gather around one of us who may be dying, and pray the Rosary, and remain, and accompany that soul right into the presence of the Lord. Could there be any more merciful thing to do in the world? Thanks for a truly beautiful blog.
Thank you Lynne for your comments and beautiful testimony above!
Very moving rought me to tears as I read this sitting here in the Cancer Center this morning. Just what I needed
Jeannie, I am glad it brought you comfort! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.