She is constantly watching over us and calling us to come closer to her Son, Jesus. 

This year began with the great Church solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, on the 1st of January.

On Mother’s Day we celebrate our earthly mothers who brought us into this world, loved and cared for us when we were utterly dependent on them, and helped raise us with good values and example which helped us to make our own way in the world. 

Our earthly mothers are indeed a great gift and blessing to us but so too is our Heavenly Mother Mary. As the adopted children of God we are also all her children and she loves each of us with the purest and most tender motherly love. She is constantly watching over us and calling us to come closer to her Son, Jesus. 

When Mary carried God in her womb for nine months, she longed to be able to look upon his face.  And in this regard, we are like Mary. We have the life of God dwelling within us through the Holy Spirit and we receive Jesus into our souls every time we receive Holy Communion, but we still long to see him ‘face to face’, to be able to behold his glory, to be able to speak to him and hear his tender voice speaking back to us. This is what we look forward to in Heaven.

Mary had that great privilege for the 30 years that Jesus lived with her in Nazareth but then came the time of letting go, of releasing him for his public ministry so that He might be about his Father’s business. Then she had to watch from a distance and hear reports about how her beloved son was being challenged and opposed by many. Finally, she would give her second and most courageous ‘yes’ to God when she watched her Son tortured and crucified.

Mary as a true mother knows the joys of motherhood but also the pains – the pains that come from loving your child and not always being able to protect them from the trouble and pain that they can encounter in the world, particularly after they leave home. But Mary trusted and prayed to God the Father that his will be done in her life, no matter how painful it might be. She trusted in God’s providence and care at all times. She can help us to have that same trust in God’s care for us, our family members and our country.

And it’s at this time in Ireland, in particular, that we really need to have great trust in God as January 1st also marked the day when, tragically, abortion became legal in Ireland for the first time. The timing could not have been more horrible. On the day in which we celebrate the Mother of God who brought the author of life into the world, and only a few weeks after we celebrated the birth of God among us, we faced into this terrible reality of abortion being brought to these shores by the will of the majority of people in Ireland.

A few days after Christmas we also celebrated the feast of the Holy Innocents, those children who were killed by King Herod as he sought to try to kill Jesus. And now more innocent children are going to be killed by this unjust law of abortion. But just as this feast of the Holy Innocents, commemorating death, was celebrated just days after Christmas – the great feast of life – so too do we celebrate the great feast of new life – the Resurrection – just days after the horror and death of Good Friday.

The message of Christianity is clear – life and love have triumphed over death and evil and this is what we have to keep in mind in our new reality here in Ireland. We have to keep persevering in prayer and action to fight for the lives of the innocent children now at risk of death. We have to keep praying to Mary, our tender mother, for the children and grandchildren in our families who have strayed from the faith or who have gotten themselves into trouble by living outside God’s laws.

As much as they are our children, they are also Mary’s and she can do much more for them than we ever can, so we must have confidence and trust in her great maternal help.

By Fr. Damian Polly OP