By Becky Siewers
I have a treasure of gifts and cards I have received over the years from my wonderful children. I have tried to preserve as many as possible, reliving the moments they were given to me. But one gift has sat on my dresser for many years — a beautiful golden heart-shaped box that I keep special little things in for safe keeping. It is engraved with sweet words and a date. This gift came from both my children, but it it was the oldest, my son, who decided on this gift from the both of them. All gifts are special; but each time I look at this one, I am reminded of the sacrifice a young boy made for his mother. Someone took him to purchase this gift with money he had saved. Unfortunately it was not explained to him how expensive it is to have something engraved. So when it was finished, he owed much more than what he had brought with him. I can imagine how disappointed he must have felt. But he was not deterred, he made a deal to come back and finish paying for it; and thank goodness, the store agreed to the deal. I only found out the whole story because I had to drive him to the store. My heart was filled with so much love and appreciation for what this young boy did just to give his mom a special gift. It was not just a beautiful golden heart box I received that year, but it showed me what a “heart of gold” my son truly had in him.
As we reflect this month on the great gift we have in our Mother Mary, we celebrate the great gift that being a mother — in any way to someone — can be in our lives. Mary is honored in shrines in almost every country in the world. Pictures of her are in our homes; statues of her grace our churches. Songs and hymns have been composed about her. She is Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, the model of perfection and the holiest of all people. Mary holds a real presence in our thoughts and plays an important role in salvation history. But sometimes we can forget that in many ways she was an ordinary woman living in a specific time and place in history. We may tend to overlook the question of what her everyday life was like. Mary showed us what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
Mary must have been amazed when the angels appeared, thanking God for this sweet baby that had just been born.“ Mary treasured them deeply and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). When Jesus was separated from her, she spent anxious days searching for him, only to find him in the temple. When she questioned Jesus about causing this worry, she was reminded, “Did you not know that I must be about in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49). She must have known in her heart what she was to expect. She continued to ponder and treasure everything surrounding her.
Mary’s trust in God, her love for him, her humble obedience to his plan —all of it was her way of giving herself back to the Lord as a precious gift. The same holds true for us. Whoever we are, wherever we live, whatever we have done, our life is a gift from a loving Father. And in gratitude, we need to find ways to honor and serve God in our everyday lives — just as Mary did. Mary will always be looking down on us, cheering us on because that is her job; she is our mother. Mary showed us a “heart of gold”; let us remember to do the same for our children. Let me always strive to be an example of her great love to all.
Becky Siewers is retired from full time ministry and serves as a consultant to the Office of Catechesis. She can be contacted at email@example.com.