Mary and the movements of a parent’s life

Albin Egger-Lienz, Madonna and Child

Albin Egger-Lienz, Madonna and Child

If your default image of Mary is of a woman standing still, arms stretched out like you see in the statues, then you might like my recent column Mary and the movements of a parent’s life.

Here’s an excerpt:

Mary has more than just one pose and one look. Her life as the mother of God involved a wide range of experiences, from the happy to the harrowing. Since becoming a mom myself, I’ve discovered that there is a Mary to correspond to nearly every moment of a parent’s life.

There’s the Mary of the Annunciation, a surprised, probably scared young woman saying “yes” to the unknown. That Mary speaks to my own experience of starting a family. While I was thrilled by the positive pregnancy test, I also knew I was saying yes to something that would challenge and stretch me in ways I could not possibly anticipate. Does Mary understand that combination of excitement and trepidation? Absolutely.

There’s Mary on the road to Bethlehem, hunched over on a donkey and searching for a place to shelter for the night. She’s the Mary who had to roll with the punches, who had to adapt quickly in very trying circumstances. I’ve never had to give birth in a barn, thank goodness, but when a cancelled flight meant I had to spend the entire night in an airport with a nine-month-old, I learned a lesson in How to Cope When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned. (I didn’t handle it with Mary’s aplomb, but I’m learning.)

You can read the rest at Catholic San Francisco.

3 responses to “Mary and the movements of a parent’s life

  1. Beautiful reflection!

  2. Loved this piece, Ginny! During the birth retreat I did during this pregnancy, the retreat leader had us meditate on a beautiful painting of “Mary and the Midwives.” It showed a pose and look of Mary’s that I had never seen before, so centered even in the midst of what moms know to be the intense and painful experience of labor. And I found myself coming back to that image as I was laboring, too. We need lots of looks and poses of Mary, for all the different stages and experiences we go through as parents, as you write so well!

  3. Thanks, ladies!

    Laura, I love how you describe that painting. It sounds so beautiful and powerful and, as you said, a welcome addition to the canon of Mary paintings.