By Nora O. Lozano
I am not sure if when you were on this earth, there was anything similar in your time and culture to Mother’s Day. Regardless of the day, I do hope that Jesus and your other children found ways to celebrate and honor you.
Around this time, the beginning of May, many countries celebrate Mother’s Day. As I remembered several mothers, I thought about you. I am sure it was a good day for you because now you are with your son. After much suffering for both of you, you two are together and fine.
But I thought also about the mothers who do not have their sons with them. What about my neighbor who recently lost her son to cancer? What about Ms. Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin’s mother), Ms. Lesley McSpadden (Michael Brown’s mother), Ms. Samaria Rice (Tamir Rice’s mother) and the other mothers in United States who have lost their sons to senseless violence? What about the mothers of the 43 students in Ayotzinapa, Mexico, and the ones of the disappeared in Argentina, El Salvador, Nicaragua and other places in the world? People say that many of these children were perceived as troublemakers, but your son was, too. They said the same about your Jesus (John 14:45-57).
Injustice is still happening! Many mothers are still crying and suffering today like you did.
I had a good Mother’s Day! I went to church, received some presents from my children, enjoyed a delicious lunch surrounded with conversation and laughter, and then took a fabulous nap. But the most important present for me is that my son and daughter are still safe and sound right now. I feel strange saying this because I know many mothers cannot say the same thing. For now, I surely count my blessings, and do not take anything for granted.
I just cannot imagine your pain and anguish; seeing so much suffering in the life of your son, and in consequence in yours. Traditionally you are called Mater Dolorosa (mother of sorrows), and I understand why: Finding yourself pregnant with your son and single, facing Joseph’s questions and rejection (Matthew 1:18-19). All mothers know that delivery is stressful, but if you add the conditions of yours, I am sure it was tough (Luke 2:4-7). Then listening to Simon’s prophecy (Luke 2:34-35), fleeing to Egypt, returning again (Matthew 2:13-23), losing Jesus for three days at the temple (Luke 2:41-51), seeing how, little by little, he was getting into more trouble, learning of the threats against his life (Luke 4:28-29; John 8:6; Matthew 26:3-4), and then his torture and crucifixion (Matthew 26:67-68; 27:27-50). Finally, you recovered him after the resurrection, I am sure you were overjoyed, but then he left you again (Acts 1:3, 9-11).
Yes, of course I know he had to go so the Holy Spirit could come, and that this was part of a divine plan (John 16:7-14). As a theologian, I know these matters well, but from a mother to a mother, I am sure it was hard — the weight of the physical absence. On the other hand, I am certain you were relieved that with your son in heaven, nothing bad was going to happen to him anymore. I am delighted that right now you two are together and well.
But you are also recognized as a model of faith. You believed when the angel Gabriel told you that you would be blessed among all women. Even though you pondered and pondered about his words, your pregnancy, and all the other events in your life and your son’s life, you believed that somehow God was going to make all things right at the end, not only for your son, but for you, and for the rest of us, human beings (Luke 1:26-35, 45; Matthew 1:21-23).
Recently my daughter asked me: “How can parents let their kids go to school, places, and activities? Who can assure them that they will come back safe and sound?” I told her that parenthood requires a great deal of faith and prayer. The only thing that allows me to go through the day in a peaceful, productive, creative way is praying, entrusting my loved ones to God’s care. The knowledge that God is there in our times of joy, but also in our times of sorrow, assures me that even if something goes wrong in a particular day, God is still there watching over us as a faithful, loving protector and companion. Surely you, Mary, knew this well. I am certain that many times your only recourse was praying for God’s mercy on you and your son.
I thank you Mary, for sharing yourself and your son with us. I am glad your response to the angel was: “Let this happen to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). I admire your faith, trust in God, and fortitude.
I do feel sorry for your suffering, and as I go through mine, even though it cannot compare to yours, your story gives me hope that in God’s timing everything will be fine. I just have to keep going, doing my best, and confiding in the loving and wise plans of our good God. I trust your story brings hope to other mothers (and fathers, too), who may be in a harder situation than mine.
Happy Mother’s Day, dear Mary! You deserve it! Thanks for everything!
With much love,