For Mother’s Day, I decided to reflect on what Mother Mary teaches all of us—women and men—about the feminine posture of receptivity. So, I read Pope Benedict’s Mary: The Church at Her Source regarding the Magnificat. Mary speaks of “magnifying the Lord.” What does that mean? Pope Benedict says, ‘To magnify the Lord means… to give him room that he may be more present in the world… to become more truly what we are… to become truly human by pointing exclusively to him” (75).
This made total sense to me since I try to focus on the meaning that the body gives to us. In this case, consider what all women have: a womb, an open space inside her very body. Who would have thought that the womb can “speak” to all of us about creating “space” for the Lord?
How might we go about that? Perhaps we begin by putting away technology for an amount of time every day and having silence. Maybe we can listen to God more than we talk to Him in our prayer time. What about really receiving the gift of another—her words, his story, their joking, and his wry smile—and thereby welcoming that person in Christ.
In the Theology of the Body, St. John Paul writes, “The ‘affirmation of the person’ is nothing other than welcoming the gift….” (TOB 15:4). Mother Mary, making space for her Lord, welcomed Jesus into her very womb thereby affirming His very existence and magnifying Him. Wonder of wonders!
I’d like to conclude in sharing what one woman’s take away was when I spoke to over 170 women at the Pensacola-Tallahassee Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. After delivering four interactive, profound talks, I asked for take-aways. One woman took the microphone and referred to a diagram I had called, The Language of the Body of the Bellybutton… which was sort of a joke! I had asked before I showed the slide, what part of the human body for everyBODY always reminds us of our mother—the bellybutton! The women loved it, especially the one who reflected on God’s design in reminding us that we are always meant to be connected to our moms.
At a time when young people are leaving the Church in droves, our own mothers, Mother Church, and Mother Mary can remind us of unconditional openness to others, traveling this thing called life with all Her children. May we allow not naval gazing but the naval to remind us of Mother Church’s open arms.
Monica Ashour, MTS; MHum is President, Author, International Speaker, and Content Creation Director at Theology of the Body Evangelization Team, Inc. (TOBET)