Faith and Motherhood

Guest blogger David Busch…

Have you ever seen one of those clips of a mother dog or cat carrying her puppies or kittens out of a burning building?  The mother is burned up and half dead, but she returns to the building over and over to drag her young ones to safety.  Similarly, the faithful Christian mother will comfort and defend her children no matter what the odds.

My father died suddenly when I was thirteen.  I recall riding next to Mom in the funeral procession.  She conversed with the driver on a variety of topics.  There was not the slightest hint of bitterness or despair in her speech.  She knew everything would work out, and it did.  A few years later, when I was refused acceptance to Notre Dame, she told me not to be too disappointed, that everything would work out.  It did.

Many times I have observed such motherly faith in action.  I used to defend young men charged with serious crimes, but often their mothers were their true advocates.  They would never give up on Johnny, no matter what the evidence showed.  Johnny was a good boy.  He would never do what they say he did.  I would stare at these mothers in bewilderment and amazement, at a loss for words.  “Is she nuts?” I would think to myself.

In 1976 I drove my mother in my yellow Porsche to visit friends and relatives.  For some reason Mom couldn’t stay awake in that car.  Twice she awoke to my being handed speeding tickets.  “Why do the cops pick on these little cars?” was her comment.

Over the years (I’m now 66) I have watched my wife and mother of three sons defend her boys.  She will candidly acknowledge their foibles with laughter, but don’t ever seriously criticize one of them in her presence.  A good mother will quietly acknowledge the need for correction of her child, and may often administer the punishment herself, but mostly in private and mercifully.

I recently finished a second reading of Bishop Fulton Sheen’s The World’s First Love.  I heartedly recommend this book about the Blessed Mother, Christ’s and ours.  Her humility and faith while on earth was unbounded.  I picture Jesus looking at her slack-jawed, as she told him, “They have no wine.” (Jn. 2:3)  (Could he possibly have been thinking, “Are you nuts?”)  It was the wrong time for such a request, but He couldn’t refuse her then and He can’t refuse her now.  We need that Woman as our advocate.

I have the good fortune to visit a local prison on occasion.  Most every Saturday is visiting day.  The wives and mothers gather in the shade of a small pavilion as they await entry to visit the Johnnies the world despises.  These ladies come in all shapes and sizes from many miles distant.  They have one thing in common: a mother’s faith.  The prisoners, who are fortunate enough to have such women in their lives, speak of them in hushed wonder.

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