Thursday, May 14, 2009

The embrace of the Mother

VATICAN - AVE MARIA : Mgr Luciano Alimandi -

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – "Remain in me, as I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, unless it remains part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a branch-and withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire and are burnt. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for whatever you please and you will get it. It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit and be my disciples. " (Jn 15, 4-8).

In this passage of the Gospel Jesus reveals the secret of interior life, of authentic spiritual fruitfulness for the soul: "to remain in Him". He uses again and again the verb, 'remain', which is found dozens of times in the Gospel of John. Jesus helps us understand that if we wish to "remain" in Him, his word must remain in us.

His word remains in our heart if we live it and bear witness to it with our life. He asks not for a mechanical exercise but for an exercise of life! If we live what he tells us, we remain in Him and his life flows in us keeping us connected with the Gospel like the branch with the vine. The word of the Lord will be not only heard by us, it will enter our life and change us. There should be no incoherence between faith and life, between believed word and word lived, or else

Michelangelo's Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica i...

Image via Wikipedia

: Jesus will leave and we will remain alone with our ego and our whims.

Among the words left to us by Jesus as his testament and, if followed, a source of supernatural life, are those said from the Cross, during the last few hours his earthly life: "behold your Mother" (Jn 19, 27).

These words, frequently commented by the Servant of God, John Paul II, are especially meaningful in this month of May traditionally dedicated to the Mother of God. Today May 13, is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, the date of the Blessed Mother's first apparition in that place in Portugal, today one of the great Marian places which are almost shrines of this entrustment.

The Holy Father John Paul II in a memorable homily delivered at the Shrine of Fatima, a year to the day since he escaped an assassination attempt in St Peter's Square, spoke about the mystery of Mary's spiritual motherhood revealed in those words of Jesus. The Pope explained the profound m

eaning, relating the motherhood of Mary to the power of the Holy Spirit.
"Ever since Jesus, dying on the cross, said to John : 'Behold your Mother; since the 'the disciple took her into his house, the mystery of the spiritual motherhood of Mary has become boundless, spreading across the world. Motherhood means concern for the life of the child. If Mary is the mother of every human person, her concern for humanity is universal. The loving care of a mother embraces the whole person. Mary's motherhood begins with her maternal care for Christ. In Christ, at the foot of the cross, she accepted John and in him every human person and the whole person. Mary embraces everyone with special concern in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit, in fact, as we profess in the 'Creed', is the 'Giver of life'. It is the Spirit who gives fullness of life open to eternity. Therefore in her spiritual motherhood Mary shares in the power of the Holy Spirit , the 'giver of life'. This motherhood is at the same time the humble service of the young girl who said: 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord (Lk 1,38)" (John Paul II, homily in Fatima, 13 May 1982).

To be true disciples of Christ we must heed every one of his words right to the last: "behold your Mother". The latter are among the easiest to live. They require only a little effort. We need only 'entrust' ourselves to Mary and allow our hearts to be drawn by hers with a spontaneous movement as a child tends towards his mother. This "movement" goes back to the beginning of our existence in the womb of our earthly mother were we experienced a vital and inseparable bond. Even when the umbilical chord is cut, a closer tie remains: it can never be severed, it ties the heart inseparably to the figure of the mother.

Since the bond with our earthly mother is so strong it is not difficult to establish a spiritual bond with the Mother of all mothers, the Blessed Virgin Mary. We all need a mother and who would not want such a Mother as Mary! "Behold your Mother", young or old, in times of joy or grief, whether sought or discovered by surprise, this bond with Mary, allows us to experience all of her maternal tenderness, protection, concern for each one of us. Not only priests who consecrate themselves to Mary, and whose life is pervaded with her maternal care, but any believer who loves Our Lady knows by experience, as Saint Bernard said when he prayed to Mary " Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection implored thy help, and sought thy intercession, was left unaided." (From the Memorare by Saint Bernard).

(Agenzia Fides 13/5/2009; righe 60, parole 950)