Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In the Heart of a Mother

A Few years ago a cat named Scarlet made headlines when she risked her life by re-entering a burning building five times to rescue her kittens one-by-one. Even though her eyes were blistered shut and her paws were burned, she did not rest until she had retrieved all her babies, touching them with her nose to know that they were safe.

In the United Kingdom, a cow named Blackie and her calf were separated when they were sold separately at an auction. The distraught mother broke out of her enclosure and was found seven miles away on another farm, contentedly suckling her calf.[1]

Stories like these, which feature the love of animal mothers for their young, never fail to melt my heart. There is always a sense of connectedness, a feeling that I can relate with because I too have a mother. Having said this, I realized that I never have to go far, for I am sure, there is a legion of heartwarming instances of how human mothers express their selfless love for their children.

Browsing through the newspapers weeks ago, I encountered two news accounts that caught my fancy.

The first was about the heroic act of a mother in saving her four kids before a deadly slide hit her house. Sensing danger, she gathered her children—all four of them!—and ran out of their house, when the rumbling became louder. That landslide left 16 casualties including 14 individuals still reported to be missing.

We know how a mother always wants the best for her children. However, the word “best” is relative. To each his own, so to say.

The second news story falls in this category. Quite recently, I came across a news article about a mother who had her three children drink a toilet cleaner, which she herself drank, too—ending all their lives in the process. Authorities recovered a suicide note left in their residence asking her relatives to forgive her and care for her 7-year-old son who was sleeping in his grandmother's house at the time of the incident.

And then, there goes another story of a mother who allowed her Son to suffer a gruesome and embarrassing death. She knew that her Son, her only Child was innocent. But then, she allowed things to run their course.

After the wedding feast at Cana, the mother was prominently absent from the scene. She was never mentioned at all—until the cross. That mother, the mother of Jesus, was present on Calvary. She was drawn to the Son in the hour of His suffering.[2]

A mother’s love brought her to the foot of the Cross. The woman closest to Jesus in life was closest to him in death. Love gave Mary the courage to be there. Pope Benedict XIV, just quite recently, reflected on that "the cross reminds us that there is no true love without suffering, there is no gift of life without pain,"

The moment on the Cross is the "hour" of redemption. It is that distinct instance when God's blueprint for our salvation has been accomplished. That plan became possible because of a mother, because of Mary.

She is our mother, not just for a time, but for all eternity. In the birth pangs of Golgotha, the Church is born. And, at the center, there beats the heart of a mother.[3]



[3] Ibid.