12 June 2010
A Mother Who Feeds Us the Bread of Heaven
A dear priest friend of mine likes to tell a story of how he envisions what happens when we arrive in heaven. He says the first person we see, of course, is Jesus. We embrace Him and feel the warmth of His touch and marvel at, well, everything about Him! Assuming we ever let go of Him, the next face we’ll see is Mary’s. She’ll be right there waiting to welcome and hug us, and according to Fr. John, she’ll have a table set and a big pot of something delicious to eat ready for us. Because that’s what good Jewish mothers do – they feed you!
He always gets smiles and chuckles from people when he tells this story (he tells it far better than I can write it – sorry), but I’m sold. I hope he’s absolutely right. Pardon the informal title, but I can’t wait to meet my Momma face to face. And I have no trouble at all imagining that she’ll hurry us into a chair at the table and start feeding us, because that’s what she does now.
Not unlike the mother who stands at the door, perhaps ringing a dinner bell, calling the children in from outside, Mary continually summons us to come inside, eat and be filled. She knows intimately well the nourishment we need, for it has always been the center of her Immaculate Heart; the heart that has always beat in perfect unison with her Son’s; the heart that first nurtured Him and kept Him alive in her womb.
It is remarkable to contemplate…Omnipotent became helpless; All-Sufficient became dependent; Creator became like His creatures, relying on her most pure heart for survival. With her body she sheltered and nourished Him; from her heart He received His own first food.
Now she sets before us a feast through her humility and obedience. She teaches us how to surrender without conditions. She augments our timid faith with the simplicity and perfection of her instruction – “Do whatever He tells you.” No other heart has trusted so completely or loved so deeply, even through hellish suffering.
Above all, she leads us by the hand to the source of our eternal Food. She calls us to the table now to take and eat the Bread of Life. She continues to be a good and loving mother, ever concerned with whether her children are eating well! She knows we have need of nothing beyond Jesus, and so to run to Mary is to be hurried on our way home to Supper.
When we truly consider Mary’s Immaculate heart and ponder her life, faith, sorrows and devotion, we are made to crave the source of her purity and love, which is her Divine Son. That, in a manner of speaking, is how she feeds us. As she once gave her womb to Him, feeding Him with her own body as He grew, now in her heart we find all that we hunger for – the Living Bread of Heaven. He rules her heart forever as both her King and her Son, and as her children, we who seek the care of our Mother’s heart are fed by the Lamb we find there.
She fed Him for most of His life – that’s what good mothers do. It’s not surprising at all that so often when I find my soul feeling hungry, it is from Mary I hear, “Sit down, child, and eat something. Let me give you some Bread.” Thanks, Mom. You always know just what I need.