No Greater Love: A Mother’s Reflection on Good Friday

 

Holy Mother Mary with Child Jesus 18th century, by Unknown. Public Domain


Growing up Baptist, I never identified very closely with Mary, but I was never really given the opportunity. Mary didn’t receive much credit within our religious community outside her role in the Christmas story; a great disservice, I think. It was after I left that denomination and had a child of my own that I found an emotional connection with her. There seems to be something innate to the female gender that takes great comfort in the shared experience of other women. Several events helped me better understand what might have been something of her experience as a mother.

In Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ there is a scene in which Jesus as a young boy is playing in the street outside his Nazareth home. His mother is watching him from a doorway. He stumbles and trips. He scrapes his knee. He is crying. As tears stream down his beautiful, little face from his big, brown eyes, you see the concern on hers and her immediate urge and response to rush to him, scoop him up, and comfort her curly-headed child whom she adores. She loves him–as any mother would–as every mother should. And because she loves him, she wants to take away his pain and suffering. He is her child–her first child–and he is precious to her.

And right there in the theater, I sobbed–heaving inhales and exhales. Because … I love my children like that.

When our first child was born I had a transformative epiphany about the depth of God’s love for us. I am sure I’m not the first parent to experience this, nor will I be the last. But in the emotional turmoil of my raging hormones, utter exhaustion, and rapturous joy in the days following his birth, I was frequently overcome to the point of tears (and, often, sobs) about how amazing this tiny, pink, squirming, helpless creature was that had been gifted to us. I loved him so much, so deeply, so instantly. I would do anything to protect him: I would die for him. How could this be that I loved this child, whom I hardly knew, this much? And it hit me. If I can love this child this much in all of my flawed humanness, how much more does God love each of us? It was a powerful moment.

My initial prenatal visit with my doctor was the day after 9-11. As we approached our first Easter as new parents, our son was barely one and our country entered a war. The reality of having a boy deeply impacted me. Since then, countless parents have sent their children into harm’s way, while untold others have grieved a terrible loss. In spite of all my hopes and dreams in anticipation for his future, I know that I have but a brief window of time with my bright-eyed, curly-headed child. He will only be small for a short time. In lightning quick years he will be required to register with the selective service; he could be compelled–or called–to fight for a cause, and we could lose him. I don’t think a parent’s love has changed much in the last two thousand years. On Good Friday, I imagine Mary must have been grief-stricken.

Having children has opened my eyes to an entirely new kind of love, to some of God’s mysterious love for us. Today, let us remember the mothers of sons who were sent to die for a cause. Let us remember them. What they gave. What they lost. What it cost. What it bought. Who it saved. Why we pray. And how it changed their lives and ours.

Copyright 2013 © Christina Caine. All rights reserved

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No greater love has a man than this than to lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13 

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Click here to hear a modern version of Bono and Pavarotti singing Ave Maria.

This entry was posted on Saturday, March 30th, 2013 at 12:57 am and is filed under Good Friday, Love, Motherhood, Sons. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Comments

  1. ~ Sil in Corea says:

    You have captured that greatest and most perfect love. Thank you!

    ... on July March 30th, 2013
  2. Kate says:

    Long embrace, bring tissues please. . . . . .. . . .

    ... on July March 30th, 2013
  3. Deb says:

    You speak so eloquently the exact same thoughts I had at the birth of our daughter. My understanding of God’s love leaped into an entirely new dimension.

    ... on July March 30th, 2013
  4. Sharon says:

    Love is all that matters. It is the Alpha and the Omega. Your gift of writing nourishes my spirit. Thank you!!

    ... on July March 30th, 2013

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