As I have mentioned before, pregnancy has made me view the role of Mary, Jesus’ mother, differently than I ever have before. I never grasped the extent of her love for Jesus, and although I still don’t think I can completely grasp it, I am able to understand it from a new perspective. My reflection during our hour of adoration today was Stabat Mater (At the Cross Her Station Keeping):
At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.
Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword had pass’d.
Oh, how sad and sore distress’d
Was that Mother highly blest
Of the sole-begotten One!
Christ above in torment hangs;
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying glorious Son.
Is there one who would not weep,
Whelm’d in miseries so deep
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?
Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother’s pain untold?
Bruis’d, derided, curs’d, defil’d,
She beheld her tender child
All with bloody scourges rent.
For the sins of His own nation,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.
O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above;
Make my heart with thine accord.
Make me feel as thou hast felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ our Lord.
Holy Mother! pierce me through;
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour crucified.
Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all my sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.
Let me mingle tears with thee,
Mourning Him who mourn’d for me,
All the days that I may live.
By the cross with thee to stay,
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.
Virgin of all virgins best,
Listen to my fond request
Let me share thy grief divine.
Let me, to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of thine.
Wounded with His every wound,
Steep my soul till it hath swoon’d
In His very blood away.
Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In His awful Judgment day.
Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
Be Thy Mother my defence,
Be Thy cross my victory.
While my body here decays,
May my soul Thy goodness praise,
Safe in Paradise with Thee.
I can’t begin to imagine what it was like for Mary to see her son nailed to a cross.
I am getting to a point where I feel like I have been pregnant forever. Not in a sense of discomfort, swollen ankles, shortness of breath, etc. It’s more like I feel like the day we found out we were pregnant (November 13, 2013) was forever ago. I have been preparing so long for the arrival of this baby. But after reflecting the Stabat Mater, I began to think that 9 months of pregnancy is giving me the chance to fully become who I want to be as a mother. It’s not only a time for the baby to grow and develop, but a time for me (and Davey) to become parents. We are growing and developing, too.
When I think of what kind of mom I want to be, naturally, I want to be like my mom. The best word to describe my mom is selfless. I think she has been completely selfless since the day my oldest sibling was born and remains that way today. Just this weekend, she planned a baby shower for me, made cookies for Davey and I, showered us with gifts, and gave us her time.
I also want to be like my grandmother. I would describe my grandmother as a prayer giant, a term I just learned of today when reading The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. Matthew Kelly describes a prayer giant:
Over the years, I have encountered many great families in my travels. A number of years ago, I tried to work out what made these families so steadfast and full of life. Tolstoy begins the epic novel Anna Karenina with these lines: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” What I have discovered is that all the great families I have encountered have a giant of prayer. These prayerful giants pray constantly for their families, surrounding them with God’s protection. Somewhere in the not-too-distant past is a person who was a prayerful giant. A prayerful giant is a person who covers their family with prayer, anchoring the family in God’s grace. Sometimes it is the grandmother or grandfather, the mother or father, an uncle or aunt, and from time to time you have to go back two or three generations, sometimes more. But you always find a prayerful giant in their family tree. Every family needs a cornerstone of prayer to pray for the family, now and in the future.
I have told so many people that “my life is so good because my Grandma is constantly praying for it to be that way.” I truly know that the opportunities I have been given in life– and the grace I have been given to take the opportunities– is a result of my grandma’s prayers.
Every good thing that has happened to me can be traced back to my mom’s selflessness and my grandma’s prayers.
So, as I prepare for motherhood over the next 13 weeks, I will spend a lot of time praying to be more like my mom and grandma: a selfless prayer giant.