'I Will Be Your Mother Now'
When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple there whom He loved, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
— Jn 19:26-27
By Chris Sparks
My grandmother loves Mary — and Mary loves my grandmother.
My Grandma Doumit is Irish, fresh off the airplane. A war bride, actually — she met my grandfather when she was a nurse during World War II and he was an Army Air Corps mechanic. And of course, as an Irish Catholic, she's always loved the Blessed Mother. But for us, it's a family thing.
She's told us the story of her father, the local policeman, being brought in by the British to be shot at dawn for collusion with rebel elements in Ireland.
And she's told us how her mother gathered her Rosary group and marched with those ladies right down to where her husband was supposed to be killed. My great grandmother prayed her way in between those guns and her husband, and prayed her way back out again, husband safely in tow.
It's been a family thing, repeatedly, the Mother of God as close as anything, as loving as anything, especially when someone was dying or dead, when trouble threatened, when need was great.
My grandmother has told us the story of her mother's early death. Grandma Doumit was young, then, far too young at 11 to lose a mother, far too young to grow up without her. She went upstairs, she said, to be in her mother's room, and she cried as she sat on the bed.
But then she looked out the window, and Mary was standing there, as real as life, looking up at my grandmother in the window and holding out her arms to her. My grandmother knew what the Mother of God was saying: I will be your mother now. My grandmother looked away, then back — and Mary had gone.
But ever since, my grandmother has dedicated her family to Mary, tucking them into the Mother's arms with every Rosary. Grandma Doumit has had many children since then and prayed many more Rosaries since then, and her family has been placed in Mary's arms every time.
I guess you could say Mary is my adoptive great grandmother, in a way. And so it's especially fitting for the family that Mother's Day should come in the month of May — Mary's month. It's fitting that we celebrate our mothers on earth and in heaven, praying to Mary for our mothers on earth and in purgatory.
All of us were adopted by Mary when God the Son gave us to her from the Cross in the person of John, the beloved disciple. All of us are children of Mary. So this Mother's Day, May 12, pray to Mary for your mother, grandmothers, godmothers, and great-grandmothers. Ask the Mother of us all to pray for us all. It's a family thing, you see.
Chris Sparks graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2011 with a Master's in Theology. He lives in Tumwater, Wash., and writes for Franciscan Way, Lay Witness, and other publications.