One of the simplest yet most profound challenges Christ issued to His Church was spoken in these words: “unless you become as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 18:3).” If He was serious about this — and when do we not take the Gospels seriously? — we might ponder what a child’s response would be in our present pandemic-afflicted world. Surely and instantaneously, the child would run to his mother for protection. But why to her? An answer is given in the words of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross: “the soul of woman must be expansive and open to all human beings…so that the entire person is readily at the disposal of every call (Fundamental Principles of Women’s Education).”
If there is one thing world-wide affliction should teach the teachable (hopefully, us!), it is that we are an interconnected world with porous borders and the thinnest of all membranes only appearing to separate us, so thin that a virus of 125 nm size (1/203200 inch) could easily penetrate it. In a manner worthy of much consideration, the coronavirus has re-connected a disparate world by its one lethal threat to all humanity. Dare the pronoun “I” ever be used again without consciousness of the “we.”
Holy Mother Church thus holds up for us, during this month of May, our universal Mother, Mary; she whom Christ, Himself, gave us from the Cross. Why did He do so? Perhaps the fact that woman was created after Adam but before the children gives us a clue. Woman’s heart comprises all of humanity. She links the past with the present and the future, thereby becoming a home for all — the confused, the discouraged, the sick, those who mourn, those who long for a listening ear and the warmth of unconditional love.
In the wisdom of the Swiss theologian, Maurice Zundel (1897-1975): “Man could only be born in the womb of a mother. He is enlightened by tenderness. And it is love that gives him rebirth…his soul, in all cases, has a need to be rocked. He looks for the maternal heart in everything as the refuge for his distress. And when he finds it, he begins to understand God.“
Living in the protection of Mother Mary we need not fear. She gathers all her children under her protective mantle while untying all our knots, cleansing all our wounds, giving strength to the anxious and suffering, and lavishing upon all of us her maternal love. Gazing upon her face, we come to know the very face of her child, the Son of God.
Sr. Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP is the Vocation Director for the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist
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