Sunday, 28 June 2015

Mary the Mother of Jesus, the human side of her (3)

Mothers, daughters. Far from your natural setting. From familiar grounds and customs - how Mary the mother of Jesus understands your plight. How she wants to comfort you. How she cries for you and wants to lighten your load- lift the worry and anxiety off your shoulders. When Mary had to flee with her wee new born - going to the unknown - she too must have wanted her mum and those dear to her close by. As a new mum - everything was different and new to her too.

We know that Mary trusted God and accepted His will, but perhaps she didn't always understand, especially in those difficult early days. Perhaps she may have had to ray constantly that her faith would not waver.

Things seemed to settle down for Mary and Joseph for a while. They settled in Nazareth where Joseph was in business as a carpenter. The workshop may have been near their house so Mary would  not have been lonely. Customers would have been in and out and she had the baby to look after. She had to cook, clean, spin and weave. There would have been chatting with other women at the well and the market and the normal life of a small town wife. God gave her breathing space. We all know of those busy happy days when the children are little. I think Mary smiles on wives and mothers.

But during those years Mary would surely have worried about what lay ahead, she must have lain awake nights thinking about the prophecy, " a sword will pierce your heart."

I tried, as a mum, to guide and raise my children with the motto : 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you'. It is my belief that I gave everything I had and more. My children are parents too now - I and my prayer is that they too pass this and other precious lessons on to their children. To live justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with their God.

Although they are adults and parents - they remain my children. I know all the decisions they make now - are their responsibility. My task to raise them is over - my task to be there as a mother for support and advice, that is never ending.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Mary the Mother of Jesus, the human side of her (2)

The angel delivered the message of the incarnation to a fourteen year old Jewish girl. He told her she was going to bear a child who was the son of God. The girl, Mary, accepted the will of the Lord.

She was a girl of a good Jewish family, well educated in the sheltered and privileged environment of the Temple. She lived at home and was engaged to Joseph, her cousin. She seemed to be doing all the right things when suddenly she announced to her parents and her fiancee that she was pregnant! Many mothers of a teenage girls are familiar with that situation. Anna and Joachim would not have been pleased. What a treasure Joseph was to believe the strange explanation of her pregnancy and marry the girl - who else would have believed her? She lived in a close knit community. She must have suffered from the inevitable gossip and censure of such a community.I am sure they all knew how many months pregnant she was at the wedding. How brave she would have had to have been. They tell us she kept the things the angel said to herself, and pondered them in her heart.

We can sympathise so well with the story of the Visitation. Mary travelled to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was also pregnant. Ho she must have been relieved to have been able to escape the immediate family and confide in a sympathetic older woman. What a sympathy Mary must have for unmarried mothers and their mothers.

Your young daughter comes home and is pregnant- How do you react?

As a mother: To whom do you go for advice, for comfort and support?

I was a young pregnant mum - and married when 3 months pregnant. I remember the remarks and comments only too well.I had no big secret to keep - and my husband to be accepted his responsibility too. It was all simple and straight forward. Not so for Mary. And she was 4 years younger than I was at the time.

Unfortunately I cannot ask my mum what her feelings were, I do know once over the original shock, she supported me totally saying , " I never passed judgement on other mothers when their daughters got pregnant hoping and praying it wouldn't happen to me. If it did, that I would know what to do. Nothing in life is a guarantee". My beautiful daughter is now 42.

After her marriage and late in her pregnancy, Mary travelled with her husband to Bethlehem for the census taking. That poor girl, you know how it feels to make a long car trip when you are pregnant with baby kicking on the things inside you so you cannot sit comfortably. Or you are young and have no money so you have to work till late in your pregnancy sitting, or worse standing all day.

They say Mary's journey was on a donkey, what an ordeal for that girl. She must pay special attention to the prayers of pregnant women.Especially those missing their parents.

Our first home was in Wellington - about 650 km away from my parents. A long, tiring car ride. Too far for visits home to mum and dad, no mobile phones for quick calls and text messages.

Next, the poor young girl, blessed by the Lord certainly but still frailly human, had to bundle up her baby and flee with Joseph to Egypt- she became a refugee. Women who have come from countries far away and felt the inestimable loneliness of being aliens, Mary knows how you feel.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Mary the Mother of Jesus, the HUMAN side of her (1)

I cannot claim the honour of this precious piece of writing. Many years ago, when I was a member of the Catholic Women's League in Taradale, Napier, New Zealand, I was asked to read this tribute to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. I have to say, although honoured to do so, after a proef read, I realised I was not going to keep it dry. So many truths, mother love's and pain, that I could in a tiny way identify with Mary. I also realised that there would be many who thought this- the meeting which I addressed was to a large number of women, of mothers, scared in some way in their mother role.

I will print it in parts- spending some moments on the contents which I am sure, will inspire me to reflect and share my thoughts.

This precious writing was originally delivered to the Palmerston North Diocesan Conference of the Catholic Women's League by Patricia Hocqaurd of Wanganui, New Zealand, the author of this writing. This is her ode to Mary.

I, who am a middle aged woman, stand before you to speak of Our Lady.I have little knowledge of scripture, I am ashamed of my lack of piety, so I offer you no learned discourse, no spiritually uplifting treatise, I shall simply share with you my view of Mary, the Mother of God.

When I was young I saw Mary as a very romantic figure. My favourite image was of a beautiful young girl, with serene white face, blue eyes uplifted to heaven, long curling brown hair, smooth hands folded serenely on her breast, wearing a robe of the purest white embroidered in gold and covered with a pale blue cloak, - a lovely girl crowned witha  circle of stars.

Now that I am older I do not think of her that way at all. At times in my life when God seems very remote and far away, I think of the humanness of Mary, and am comforted by the knowledge that this woman who experienced things in her life that women today experience, is with the Lord and that she will intercede for me. Mary was a woman of great virtue and holiness, but today I will speak of her HUMANNESS.

Mary as a human, Mary as a girl, Mary as 'one of us'.

In the Catholic Church we first and foremost honour and pray to God our Father, Jesus His Son and the Holy Spirit - all three as One.

We also acknowledge the importance of Mary, the mother of Jesus and Joseph His earthly father and Mary's husband.

God wanted Jesus to have a mother and a father here on earth. He had his reasons for that. I also 'seek' Mary in my prayer life.

It was custom in my childhood years, for parents to add the name Mary to their children's chosen names. They did this as a tribute to Mary and also as an 'extra' support, as Mary was seen as Mother of all mothers. Who better to ask to keep an extra special eye on their child? My 3 brothers, my sister and I all carry her name.

My grandmother ( on maternal side) so loved Mary also that she used to encourage us to say 3 Hail Mary's before sleeping. This request has stayed with me all my years, I am 62 now. I admit to skipping nights - but also giving heed to that request. Especially when I have 'mother worries'.

It doesn't take much imagination to conjure up some HUMAN events in Mary's life. events that many woman face today.

The angel delivered the message of the Incarnation to a 14 year old Jewish girl. He told her she was going to bear a child who was the Son of God. The girl, Mary, accepted the will of the Lord.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Do not worry... all will be well! You'll see.


How often have I heard those words?

On many occasions when 'things' happen is this one of the most uttered comments, meant as a comfort for sure, but none the less, easily said.

And I have said it too - countless times, to those who also spoke of 'things' that rocked their world.

Behind every door - no matter how well maintained that door may be, there are WORRY MOMENTS.

Short term worries and long term worries.

Some worries drive people to despair and other worries disappear as fast as they have arrived.

I read a fair few blogs - and in some of those people mention their worries.

In others the writers manage to openly discuss and discern their worries with others.

And in some - I detect that the optimism could be a cover up for their own worries.

Not that I think EVERYONE worries

OR....... is there not a household where there are NO worries?

Job prospects!

Relationship worries!

Financial worries!

Addiction worries!

Health worries!

I believe worrying to be a human condition. I also believe worrying can be identified as 'just being or showing concern(ed)'

I also think that the level of worry depends on the close relationship with those facing the issues listed above.

One worries more about one's closest relation ( spouse, sibling, parent) than that of a neighbour or friend.

As a believer - we are called NOT TO WORRY.


NO, we are all called not to worry - only believers have the added responsibility to follow the will of their God and to head his call to : NOT WORRY!

And that is sometimes very hard to do.

It means - letting go and letting GOD!

Not having control, not meddling, not being at the helm, not searching for the 'perfect' solution.

Matthew 6: 25-34 ( NIV) and Luke: 12:22-31

Do Not Worry

6:25–33pp—Lk 12:22–31

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I know, I know- it all makes sense - is it easy - it should be but right this minute - NO!

Can I let go of this worry that now plagues me? 

I do my utmost - I soldier on and I pray - daily!

The Serenity prayer. 

A prayer of hope- of love and support.

Dear God, I know you love for me and all those in my care and who play a part in my life

I  know that small worries send ripples and larger ones send tidal waves in my life.

You calmed the storm Lord, you made the waves subside.

Level the storm in my heart Oh Lord!

Save me from drowning in my despair.

Be my safety net O Lord - drop me a life jacket of comfort

In you O Lord I put my trust!


Saturday, 13 June 2015

How time flies- still Counting Blessings

I just CANNOT believe it has been 5 weeks since my last BLOG here.

OMGoodness me. I have neglected my readers for far too long.

But how joyful a message I have for you, you just won't believe.

I have a follow up on the Counting Blessings post from January!

If you want to reflect... feel free.

Well here the update:

How BLESSED and a HUGE miracle is this?

I have a great granddaughter.

To understand the relationship a read of the BLOG Counting Blessings - is useful.

Welcome into my life Rhiver.... welcome! Looking forward to cuddles on my next visit Down Under.