When you refer to love in any one’s faith journey, the first thought that comes to mind is often Jesus. He is love, embodies love and our entire journey in faith is based on that love he so freely gave us.
But, if we pause for a moment to consider where he learned such beautiful and selfless love, you would remember it began with Mary, his mother.
Her love shines through in every story ever written about her. Not once, do I believe, have I read where she has been angry, resentful, or shown negative feeling toward another living soul. She has always preached and lived love truthfully to others.
Can we say we do this in our own lives?
In this day and age, we condition love, we qualify love and hold it close to our chest before sharing it with another. In doing so we often miss out on opportunities to accept love in return from people in our lives who we care for deeply, people we have let walk away for our own fear of embracing emotions.
Why are we afraid to love?
Why are we afraid to be loved?
Why do we feel we have to earn or be deserving of love?
When I came back to the Church in my early young adult years, I didn’t give Mary that much thought. Not out of disrespect, but rather as I cautiously walked back to these beliefs it was enough to embrace Jesus at first. As each year passed and I grew deeper in my faith towards a calling toward religious life, it was the many beautiful selfless nuns whom in Mary’s image guided me to her. They encouraged me to talk to her, pray to her and open my heart to her in my discernment as a Mother.
It was at those early moments I came across this breathtaking sketch of a young Mary. I should rephrase that, as I did not merely come across so much as I was drawn to her in a moment where nothing existed across a crowded conference hall and I knew she needed to come home with me that day. As a minimalist I have very little, but I have never parted ways with her. For in my darkest hours, through my endless questioning stages, I have always been able to look into her humble eyes and accept her love. When I was able to accept her love, I slowly began to love myself. And when I began to love myself was when I was able to not only let others love me, but to love them in return. When I embodied my life with this love, so much more about my journey became clear. A simple glance from her and peace comes over me with a rush of assurance. There is no doubt, no fear, no denial of love.
Mary is our forever Mother; healing us in our pain, always teaching and guiding us in the storms of life, loving us in our faults and sufferings, while sharing her faith along the journey.
Perhaps, when we learn to love ourselves as Mary loves us, we will be able to accept love from others as freely. And when we begin to love ourselves as Mary loves us, we will be able to share that love with others to create a better humanity for our world.
After all, that is truly what she wanted in giving us her son. When all is said and done in this spiritual life…it all comes back to love.
Will you embrace her love today?