"The Virgin in Prayer" (detail) by Sassoferrato

“The Virgin in Prayer” (detail) by Sassoferrato

Our Lord entrusts each of us into the care of the most blessed of all women—Mary, His mother.

Sammy was a playful boy, like most of the five-year olds in my kindergarten classroom. Almost three feet tall with dark, dark eyes and dark, dark hair, Sammy possessed a smile that radiated from his soul. He came up with his own special way of greeting me in the morning: sneaking up behind me, grabbing my rosary beads which hung on the left side of my habit, and pulling them to full extension. He was so quick and so silent that the beads did not even make a noise. I didn’t realize he was even there until I felt the tug of the rosary beads.

Once I felt the tug, I knew Sammy was around, and turned my head to look at him. There he was with the rosary beads clutched in his little hands and with that smileoh, what a smile. He said, with joy in his eyes, “Sister, if I just hold on to Mary, I will never be lost.” At which point, I wanted to give him a big hug and a big kiss for the great truth he had just proclaimed. Instead, I got down on my knees so we would be eye-to-eye, and I said to him with an equally big smile, “Sammy, you are right. If you hold on to Mary, you will never be lost.” Then Sammy joyfully dropped the rosary beads, ran to his place on the carpet, and sat criss-cross with his hands in his lap, ready to go. Of course, he always showed that smile which let everyone know that he undeniably possessed a great treasure.

I would like to say that I taught Sammy that phrase, “If I hold on to Mary, I will never be lost,” but the truth is that I did not. Sammy taught it to me. His parents, who are not Christians, did not teach it to him. I believe Sammy knew it because he experienced it. He experienced Mary as his mom in heaven who cares for him.

In The Story of a Soul, Saint Thérèse, who is known throughout the world as “the Little Flower,” wrote, “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.” Each person should reflectI mean really reflecton how much mothers give, seen or unseen, perfectly or imperfectly. How many times did she tie shoes? Wipe mouths? Hold tight, bundle up, or rock to sleep? How many times did she study her sleeping child’s face under her maternal gaze? How many times did she ponder with wonder and awe, within her own heart, the great mystery and gift of motherhood?

What about her personal desires, wishes, and goals that she sacrificed for her child? Her child’s greater good becomes her greater good because she is a mom. Our moms are a great treasure. It is true that mothers have many, many cares that no one else realizes. Only in heaven will we find out the answer.

Some of us have fond memories of our mom and more memories are still being made. Others may not have such fond memories because of hurts or wrongful acts. Some persons may not even know their mom. What we all know is that for the first nine months of life, we were carried within the very being of our mothers. Mysteriously, our mom gave us life as we grew silently within. The mystery and gift of our mothers is a treasure that can be pondered and relished endlessly.

As great as our moms may be, the truth is, we have an even greater mom in heaven. Whether we know it or not, since the very moment of our conception, we have been under the most loving gaze of all womenthe gaze of Our Lady. At this very moment, her loving gaze is upon us.

Mary, who was conceived without original sin, loves us with a love that is pure and holy. Her maternal love finds expression in guiding us to Jesus. Mary is all about Jesus, and what her heart desires is whatever Jesus desires for us, namely, that we do the Father’s will.

In the Gospel, when our Lord says to Mary, “Woman, there is your son,” and to His disciple, “There is your mother,” our Lord is entrusting each of us into the care of the most blessed of all women, Mary, His mother.

If we hold on to Mary we will never be lost. We will never be lost. Why? We will be with Jesus.

The Marian Dogmas of the Catholic Church

  • Divine Maternity of Mary (Council of Ephesus in 431 a.d.). Mary received the title “Theotokos,” which means “Godbearer.”
  • Perpetual Virginity (Lateran Council in 649 a.d.).
  • “Mary was virginal before, during and after the birth of Christ.”
  • Immaculate Conception (Pius IX in 1854 a.d.). “Mary was preserved from all stain of original sin from the first moment of her conception.”
  • Bodily Assumption into heavenly glory (Pius XII in 1950 a.d.). “At the end of her earthly life, Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven.”

By Sister Sophia, O.C.D.

Dogmas are truths of the faith which must be believed by all Catholics.

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