Mary — Mother of God, Mother of Mine

Blessed Virgin Mary with Jesus

Blessed Virgin Mary with Jesus

In her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux noted this about mothers, “How delicate a mother’s heart really is, and how it shows its tenderness in a thousand little cares that no one else thinks about.” Many of us have fond memories of our mother – the times she dressed us, combed our hair, tied our shoes, read to us as we sat close by her side, kissed a bruise or scrape to make it feel better – a myriad of “little” things that add up to so much. A mother’s personal dreams and wishes become secondary to those of her child and no sacrifice is too great for her to make. Yes, a mother is truly one of the greatest treasures and blessings God bestows in this life.

As we think of our mother, even though she should be the ideal in every conceivable way, there is one mother who surpasses all – our Blessed Mother, Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother. Contemplating Our Lady in her role as mother and caretaker of Jesus as an infant and little boy, it is so easy to imagine her singing to Him, putting Him to bed at night, kissing a skinned knee if He fell while at play. All things she surely must have done throughout the “hidden years” in Nazareth because all these things are such ordinary aspects of human life – our same condition which Jesus willingly took on Himself. These simple acts so beautifully remind us that not only is Jesus’ nature wholly Divine, but that He is most assuredly wholly human, too.

During Christmas, we gaze upon our Nativity displays and the eye is drawn toward the figure of Mary lovingly beholding the Infant Jesus lying in the manger or perhaps she is holding Him in her arms. It is therefore, most appropriate, to honor Mary within the Octave of Christmas as the Mother of God – the greatest of her many titles. It is also a fitting way to start a new year. In honoring Our Lady as the Mother of God, we remember that her motherhood is a great source of grace and salvation for us because it was through her that we “received the Author of Life.” Through her motherhood, the faithful are indelibly joined as members of the Body of Christ, the Church.

In a supreme act of generosity, Our Lord, in His agony on the cross, gave His Blessed Mother to us: “When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother’ (John 19: 26-27).” The last gift Jesus gave to us before shedding the last drops of His most precious and sacred Blood was His mother. Mary, being the good mother she is, is always interested in the needs and desires of her children. How comforting and reassuring it is to know that at every moment of every day throughout our earthly journey, the loving gaze of the most perfect of mothers always rests on us – the gaze of Our Blessed Mother.

To Jesus through Mary – a familiar phrase to most Catholics and if we consider the basic human condition, we can come to understand God’s loving providence even more fully. “God gives a mother to his Son for us. Whatever makes God seem abstract, distant, aloof, elusive, unapproachable or intimidating is overcome in a mother. Although the theology of Mary’s maternity is rich and complex, its meaning becomes clear as we consider our own experiences. For example: When things go wrong, where would we turn without our mothers?” (Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P., Catholic Update | Mary: Mother of God and Our Mother).

As our mother, Mary is our loving maternal mediatrix with God and it is said that Jesus cannot refuse anything His Mother asks of Him. Despite how unworthy we might feel, regardless of how troubled or conflicted, we rest assured of Our Lady’s constant and undying love for us, for her willingness to wrap us in the mantle of her loving embrace and gently usher us to her Divine Son.

O Virgin Immaculate, Mother of God and My Mother

O Virgin Immaculate, Mother of God and my Mother, from your sublime heights turn your eyes of pity on me. Filled with confidence in your goodness and knowing full well your power, I beg you to extend to me your assistance in the journey of life, which is so full of dangers for my soul. In order that I may never be a slave of the devil through sin, but may ever live with my heart humble and pure, I entrust myself wholly to you. I consecrate my heart to you forever, my only desire being to love your divine Son, Jesus. Mary, none of your devout servants has ever perished; may I, too, be saved. Amen.

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About the Author

Promoting a Deeper Spiritual Life Among Families through Healthcare, Education and Retreats

The Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles strive to give striking witness as a vibrant, thriving community of dedicated women with an all-consuming mission. It is our God-given mission, a mission of the heart, a mission of loving service to the poor, the sick, the needy and the uneducated. Our loving service overflows from each sister’s profound life of prayer. We strive to reflect His life and hope and His promise to all that light has come into our world and darkness has not overcome it.

A look at the history of our community, with its motherhouse in Alhambra, California, reveals how its life-giving presence has come about. During the beginning decades of the 1900s just as the epic Mexican revolution was subsiding, a ruthless religious persecution was gaining momentum in Mexico. This horrible persecution accompanied the birth and humble beginnings of our community, a legacy that Mother Luisita, our foundress, and her two companions brought with them as religious refugees entering the Unites States in 1927.

Those seeds planted by Mother Luisita, now a candidate for sainthood, have taken deep root in the United States since those early days. People and places have changed throughout the years, yet the heart of our mission remains. As an autonomous religious institute since 1983 we continue to carry out our loving service in our healthcare facilities, retreat houses and schools which remain to this day centers of life and hope. Today we are moving forward together “Educating for Life with the Mind and Heart of Christ” in schools, being “At the Service of the Family for Life” through health and eldercare and “Fostering a Deeper Spiritual Life” through individual and group retreats. At the heart of our vocation is a passionate mission of loving service which facilitates our life-giving encounter with the living God.

The heritage of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles is rooted in the spirituality of Carmel, the Gospels, the Church, with our particular charism derived from our beloved Foundress, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

In His merciful goodness, God has graced our Institute with the Carmelite charism which has its roots in a long history and living tradition. The spirituality of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross is rooted in this tradition. Carmel means enclosed garden in which God Himself dwells. The divine indwelling in the soul is the foundation of Teresa's doctrine. Thus our vocation is a grace by which contemplation and action are blended to become an apostolic service to the Church.

Our ideal finds a living expression in the life and charism of our beloved Foundress, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament, whose spirit we faithfully preserve and foster.

Our life is characterized by: - A life of prayer and union with God - A deep love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist - Devotion to our Blessed Mother - Steadfast fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church - Praying for priests - Commitment to works of the apostolate in ecclesial service

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