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Mother’s Day Tips from the Rosary

May 7, 2013



As a mom who was confirmed as a Catholic at the age of 34, while 9 months pregnant with my second child, you would think that I would have been interested in learning the rosary. But as a former Methodist, I had my suspicions about the practice, so I managed to ignore it until my third child gave me one as a gift a few years ago.  I was surprised to learn that, despite its repetitive nature, the main focus is to meditate on scripture.  Recently, as I meditated on the “Joyful Mysteries”, I realized how perfectly these aspects of Mary’s life from the Bible offer wisdom and encouragement to mothers.  Here’s what I took away:


  1. Pregnancy sometimes catches us by surprise.  When the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce she will carry the Savior, it must have been quite a shock for such a young girl. Pregnancies can be like that. They’re not always planned or convenient – they might come during a time of unemployment or when a marriage or relationship is struggling.  Statistics show that almost half of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned.  Sometimes they can be a shock to the mother and to those around her.  But despite the inconvenience, embarrassment and even danger of an unmarried pregnancy, Mary said yes to God’s gift, and thus gave a gift to the whole world.  How often do “surprise” babies end up being the joy of our lives?
  2. Moms need support.  After receiving the news, Mary quickly goes to see her cousin Elizabeth, who is also expecting.  Boy, do we need other moms. One of my dearest friends is also a lawyer, who has four kids to my three. We were pregnant at the same time, three times in a row (she had a bonus baby).  How wonderful it is to have other mom friends to listen to our joys, sorrows, stresses, worries, and crazy stories.  Mothers need to lean on each other, especially in today’s world where we are expected to do it all.
  3. Babies aren’t born on your schedule.  In the Bible, the Gospel of Luke tells us that Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem to take part in a census, where Jesus is inconveniently born in a stable.  Babies have a way of coming on their own timetable – early, late, or when your doctor is not on call.  Accepting your lack of control here is one of the first things you learn about being a mom.  Even if you think you’re ready to take that little life in your arms, you’re really not.  Your children will do things on their own schedule.
  4. People will say things about your children.  When Mary and Joseph present Jesus in the temple,  Simeon the prophet says that Jesus will cause the rise and fall of many in Israel and “a sword will pierce [Mary’s] soul also.”  From they day they are born, other people will say things about your children. They will speculate about gifts and talents. Others will speak gloom and doom.  People will say things about your children that will encourage them and uplift them, while others will hurt them, and hurt you, and they will pierce you to the heart.  As Elizabeth Stone said, being a mom means to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
  5. When kids grow up, they take paths we don’t always understand.  While on a trip to Jerusalem, 13-year-old Jesus gets separated from Mary and Joseph and stays in the temple for 3 days, talking to the rabbis about the Scriptures.  Mary and Joseph are scared, frustrated and unhappy when they realize he just went off to do this because he wanted to.  But Jesus doesn’t understand – “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”  Even Mary, who surely had a better understanding of who Jesus was than most people, did not always understand what he was doing.  But she had to let him begin to make his own decisions about where his life was going to go, and she had to accept them.  Watching your children take those steps toward an adult life is both exciting and terrifying.  We always want to keep jumping in and directing and fixing things.  But after a certain point, it’s time to stand back and just cheer them on.  (Of course, I still keep my first aid kit ready as I’m standing on the sidelines). 

As my own children are all nearly grown, I am particularly thankful for Mary’s example of lifelong love and support for her Son. I’m also very proud of each of my children as they make their way into adulthood.  My prayer for all of us moms is that we will have the love and grace to be faithful mothers throughout our lives.  Happy Mother’s Day!


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  1. What a beautiful meditation. Thank you ! I am a crade Catholic and what a blessing you are to the church. Yes, Mary is an example in many, many ways.

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