The other day, I was designing a blog button for our Australian Catholic Families blog. I wanted a special button to attach to all our May posts, posts about Mary and motherhood. I thought carefully about the words. What title should I give Mary?
For a few minutes I pondered the many names Mary is known by: Our Lady, Blessed Virgin Mary, Virgin Mary, Immaculate Mary, Blessed Mother, Saint Mary, Holy Mary, Holy Virgin, Mother of God, Madonna, Queen of Heaven… then there’s all her other titles like Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Our Lady Help of Christians…
But the one I chose to use was the simple ‘Mary’.
Soon the button was finished:
I wonder sometimes if I should be so intimate with Our Mother. Perhaps I should show more respect and always say The Blessed Virgin Mary when speaking of her. Mary inspires me with awe and I do want to honour her.
But also, I want to crawl on her lap, feel her arms around me, whisper in her ear. She understands my difficulties. She knows I sometimes need a safe place to sit. She is a mother. She is our mother. She is Mary.
My youngest daughter Gemma-Rose is eight years old. Although she is no longer a very little girl, every day she comes and asks, “Can I sit on your lap, Mum? I need a hug.” I scoop her up and enfold her in my arms and I enjoy.
“What will I do when you grow up?” I ask. “Who will sit on my lap and hug me?”
“I will,” answers Gemma-Rose. “I’ll never be too old to sit on your lap.”
I have a print on my wall called The Virgin and Child with St Anne. It is a cartoon or drawing by Leonardo da Vinci. Mary is holding Jesus, while sitting on the lap of St Anne. It is an unusual pose. Mary, a grown woman, sitting on the lap of her mother? Yes, even when we are adults we still need a mother. Mary needed hers. We need ours. We also need Our Mother, Mary.
A dear friend once wrote a few words I ponder frequently. She prayed that our sons (in heaven) may teach us how to become little so we can fit on Mary's lap and never depart. Maybe there are times for standing at a distance and expressing our respect and honour to Our Lady. And perhaps there are times for crawling straight onto her lap. Somehow I don’t think Our Lady would mind if I call her Mary.
Gemma-Rose is still on my lap. She hugs me tightly. “I love you so much, Mum!” she whispers in my ear.
My daughter doesn't know it, but I am also sitting on a lap. Mary enfolds me in her arms and then bends her head towards me. I also whisper: "I love you so very much, Mary!"
I am so glad Mary is my Mother and that I am a mother myself.
Please visit our Australian Catholic Families blog. I will be posting Mary and motherhood posts throughout May. I have a very interesting collection of stories to share. They were written by both Australian and overseas authors.