By Dr Rachel Bradley, Director of the Office of Life, Marriage and Family

I was very close to my mother who died when I was thirty-five years old.

She was joyful and fun filled, extremely generous and loving. I remember her very practical care for everyone, mixed with a healthy sense of humour and appreciation of the ridiculous.

I have memories from childhood of various waifs and strays that she would invite into the kitchen and listen to over a cup of tea.

I also remember being sent out to secretly drop money into the letter boxes of people she knew who were going through hard times, even though my parents never had any money to spare.  

My life has been profoundly affected by our relationship and her love helped me to be secure and thrive through my childhood and beyond.  

At its best, the unconditional love that you receive from your mother allows you to thrive and flourish as you grow. Of course, many people have very difficult relationships with their mothers, and mothers who suffer from ill health, either physically or mentally, can struggle to provide the nurturing that we need from them.

When we think about how important the love of our earthly mother is to our lives, we can also appreciate how much God has lavished on us through His gift of Our Lady as our heavenly mother.

 The words of Our Lady of Guadalupe to St Juan Diego are very consoling:

“Am I not here, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms?”

Whatever the situation with our own mothers, we can take refuge in our relationship with the Mother of God who really is our mother too.

She is the Immaculate Conception, a human being now in Heaven with the Blessed Trinity, who is always there for us, and is never too tired or busy to attend to her children.

Jesus would surely have resembled her physically and she resembles her Divine Son in the way she loves us. When she appeared to St Catherine Labouré, through whom we received the Miraculous Medal, she spoke of all the graces that God desires to give through her to His children that go unused because we don’t ask for them.

 Let us not make that mistake.

Tags: Life Family Marriage