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 | By Veronica Szczygiel, Ph.D.

Mary, Our Model for Grace-Filled Motherhood

I think that if we asked any mother what she wanted most for her child, she would likely answer, “to be happy.” Mary, as Jesus’ mother and, by extension, our own mother, wants the same for each of us, with one addition – to be happy and holy. For us as Christians, happiness and holiness converge when we walk in the ways of our Lord. Mary is a model for how to do just that. This May, the best way to honor her is to follow the example she set for us.

One of Mary’s defining moments was when the angel Gabriel visited her, bearing God’s will for her to become the mother of Jesus. She gave a total “yes” to God during the Annunciation, even though she must have been frightened, uncertain and even doubtful. In offering her fiat, Mary placed her complete trust in God.

This past year has taught us that life can change drastically and quickly, and though we may have our own set of plans, ultimately, we are not in control. Perhaps we can allow God’s plan to unfold for us by trusting him completely, as Mary did. Not knowing what the future would bring did not stop Mary from saying “yes” to the Lord. From her, we can learn to trust and have faith.

As a mother, Mary was full of unconditional love for her Son, supporting him in his teaching, preaching and even his ultimate sacrifice. Mary’s grace-filled motherhood shows us how to be filled with gratitude for all our motherly figures – both living and deceased. We can honor Mary and follow her example of love by genuinely thanking our mothers for their support of us. We can pray for our mothers, for expectant mothers and, in a special way, for those mothers contemplating an abortion – that they may have a change of heart. Additionally, just as Mary felt great pain in Jesus’ crucifixion, we can take this opportunity to attend to the hurts of our own hearts: if there is a rift or misunderstanding with your mother or if you are a mother who has a conflict with her child, ask Mary for her intercession as you try to repair that rift.

Mary, as our own mother, always hears our pleas and praise. She wants us to be happy and holy, and we can always turn to her for help. So, I invite us to pray the Memorare when we need her motherly support:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.

O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.