Like a weaned child with its mother…

We share with our Savior the love for our mother, the Virgin Mary

It happened on a 12.5-hour flight from Munich to Denver. I was sitting in the second row and in front of me, in the front row, in full view, was a young mom with her baby of approximately six months old. Twelve hours is a long time and passengers were looking for the best ways to spend it: reading, trying to sleep, watching a movie, or just distracting themselves one way or another, hoping time would go by more quickly. For that young mother, there were no movies or any kind of reading. She spent twelve hours with her child: comforting him when he cried, distracting him with a toy, moving around… With the baby in her arms the entire time. At some point, when the lights of the plane went down inviting everyone to get some sleep, I noticed both of them falling asleep. The baby slept peacefully crouched on his mother, with his little face close to her, and the mother, soundly asleep and still tightly hugging her little boy.

At that moment I thought about the countless hours in which Jesus, at just a few months old, would also probably fall asleep crouching on his mother and the times that Mary would fall asleep while hugging him gently. Throughout those countless hours bonded to each other, with their hearts beating very close to each other, the baby staring at his mother’s face, sleeping on her for hours, a pure and unbreakable bond was built and recognized in the voice of Baby Jesus calling this woman “mama,” even before he took his last breath on the cross. The nine months in the mother’s womb and the first few years with our eyes focused on the woman we call “mom” set in any human’s heart an indisputable love for that woman.

Catholics understand Jesus’ relationship with his mother, Mary, not only in the highest theological significance and biblical strength, but also in its human dimension. Everything that we read in the Scriptures about this relationship has to be understood from a human, maternal, tender, and loving bond between Jesus and his mother. They lived together for 30 years, day and night, treating each other with affection, enjoying the little things of a humble family life, and conversating about God.

In the Old Testament, the names of 84 mothers are mentioned. In many cases, the mother appears as the most important woman in a man’s life. The intense relationship of man with his mother is part of the Jewish soul. Rabbi Soloveitchik says that “the mother will always see in her son, no matter his age, the baby that she gave birth to.” For a mother, “the image of her baby, the memory of that little boy in her arms, the image of her playing, smiling, hugging, feeding, and bathing him, never fades. She always sees her son as the little one who needs her company and support, who she always must protect like a shield.” Thus, due to this relationship between her and her son, for a good Jew, there is no love greater than the love of his mother, after the love of God. The Jewish Midrash says that when God wanted to indicate the greatest love in a human sense, he used the love of a son for his mother.

Jesus, the man from Nazareth, from a Jewish race and culture, and the man with the most sensitive and perfect soul that ever existed, loved his mother with all the endlessness of his divine and human heart. Catholics worship and share these feelings with our Savior, and that is why we call Mary “Mother” and ask for her protection and affection. It is a matter that comes from the heart.

I wish all the mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day. May the Lord bless and keep you!

COMING UP: Q&A: USCCB clarifies intent behind bishops’ Eucharist document

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Last week, the U.S. bishop concluded their annual Spring meeting, during which much about the Church in the U.S was discussed. In particular, the bishops voted to draft a document on the meaning of Eucharistic life in the Church, which was approved by an overwhelming majority.

Since then, speculation about the nature of the document has run rampant, the chief of which is that it was drafted specifically to instigate a policy aimed directly at Catholic politicians and public figures whose outward political expressions and policy enactment do not align with Church teaching.

The USCCB has issued a brief Q&A clarifying the intent of the document, and they have emphasized that “the question of whether or not to deny any individual or groups Holy Communion was not on the ballot.”

“The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life,” the USCCB said. “The importance of nurturing an ever
deeper understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist in our lives is not a new topic for the bishops. The document being drafted is not meant to be disciplinary in nature, nor is it targeted at any one individual or class of persons. It will include a section on the Church’s teaching on the responsibility of every Catholic, including bishops, to live in accordance with the truth, goodness and beauty of the Eucharist we celebrate.”

Below are a few commonly asked questions about last week’s meeting and the document on the Eucharist.

Why are the bishops doing this now?

For some time now, a major concern of the bishops has been the declining belief and understanding of the Eucharist among the Catholic faithful. This was a deep enough concern that the theme of the bishops’ strategic plan for 2021-2024 is Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope. This important document on the Eucharist will serve as a foundation for the multi-year Eucharistic Revival Project, a major national effort to reignite Eucharistic faith in our country. It was clear from the intensity and passion expressed in the individual interventions made by the bishops during last week’s meeting that each bishop deeply loves the Eucharist.

Did the bishops vote to ban politicians from receiving Holy Communion?

No, this was not up for vote or debate. The bishops made no decision about barring anyone from receiving Holy Communion. Each Catholic — regardless of whether they hold public office or not — is called to continual conversion, and the U.S. bishops have repeatedly emphasized the obligation of all Catholics to support human life and dignity and other fundamental principles of Catholic moral and social teaching.

Are the bishops going to issue a national policy on withholding Communion from politicians?

No. There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians. The intent is to present a clear understanding of the Church’s teachings to bring heightened awareness among the faithful of how the Eucharist can transform our lives and bring us closer to our creator and the life he wants for us.

Did the Vatican tell the bishops not to move forward on drafting the document?

No. The Holy See did encourage the bishops to engage in dialogue and broad consultation. Last week’s meeting was the first part of that process. It is important to note that collaboration and consultation among the bishops will be key in the drafting of this document.

Featured photo by Eric Mok on Unsplash