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Selfhood begins in the going away

Love is proved in the letting go

Here the one who suffered by his coming into the world now suffers in his going out of it. The age-old prophecy of Simeon to Mary when Christ was presented in the Temple is now being fulfilled; ‘And your own soul a sword shall pierce that the secret thoughts of many may be revealed.’ Through the centuries hearts have opened freely to the one whose heart

was pierced. Mary had begun her role as the ‘Help of Christians.’ In someone who has suffered there is no judgment, but only acceptance, compassion and understanding.

Motherhood is a precious gift but a temporary role. The life Mary bore was not her own. It had come through her but not from her so it was not hers to hold onto. When Jesus was lost to her as a twelve year old it was his first step towards finding himself. Later in his ministry she could have felt sidelined as he was about his Father's business. While it was her role to give him roots she also gave him wings. She made him independent enough to discover who he was as the Son of his Father.

Mothers who in good faith do too much for their children, especially what they are capable of doing for themselves, keep them dependent. So they fail to become mature adults and in their need keep coming back to ‘Mammy’. She in turn is subtly holding onto her role and failing to embrace her true identity apart from being mother. In essence she stands in danger of destroying what she treasures most; her beloved children.

By giving all, and asking nothing, children are placed firmly in her debt,

and owe her nothing less than everything.

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