A mother’s life is one of continuous expectation, always waiting on the needs of her children. Bishop Mario Grech said that one fails to find sufficient words to describe what a mother is: her love, her comforting arms, her understanding ear. To a mother, her children are her world, not because the children are perfect but because they are her children, cherished from the first indications of life in the womb and then throughout her life. A mother’s place in our lives, said Bishop Grech becomes all too evident when one calls out to her and gets no reply.
A debt that cannot be paid
“We are heavily indebted to our mother. She is the one who welcomes a new life in her womb when we are conceived, and from that moment her life becomes one continuous act of expectation: first she waits for us to be born, and then she is always at the door, waiting for us to come home” said Bishop Grech. For children, he added, their mother’s face and arms constitutes the universe. Everything is included in her face, in her look which encompasses what is happening in the world around them, while her ministering arms see to it that the children do not fall into a pit of dispair.
A remedy for selfishness in a profoundly masculine society
Bishop Grech said that a mother’s presence is the remedy for individualistic and selfish drives. “Where mothers are absent, society loses its heart and becomes cold; when we tamper with the gift of maternity, society becomes wicked, and cold calculation and speculation take the place of a welcoming attitude to life, replacing love, mercy and compassion. A mother knows how to light up the flame of hope in a heart engulfed in darkness; mothers are the future of society” said Bishop Grech. Quoting a lay Orthodox theologian about a society which does not value maternity, Bishop Grech said that “contemporary society is profoundly masculine and the female charism is of no importance to it, it is a society without God, because He cannot be born in it without her presence.”
Mary, the nurse of the spiritually wounded
Turning his gase to the Virgin Mary, Bishop Grech drew parallels with human mothers. Mary, said Bishop Grech, loves her children because they are her children, not because they are perfect. “Mary loves us all, but she has a special fondness for those who are spiritually tired or who have gone astray. Hers are the arms which embrace us lovingly and which warm us when we feel cold. Just as she helped Christ carry the cross, so today she intervenes to help us bear life’s heavy crosses” said Bishop Grech. If, as Pope Francis has said, the Church is like “a field hospital in battle”, so Mary is like that nurse who does not stop tending whoever is morally and spiritually wounded. In her face we see the reflection of what our face should look like: a peaceful and serene face, reflecting one’s interior life, commented the Bishop of Gozo.
Bishop Grech called on the faithful to experience the love of Mary in this Marian Year, particularly when, in moments of crisis, all faith in God is lost and spiritual challenges seem to be too great. “A society and a Church which are spiritual orphans will get ever closer to the tomb, not only because God’s absence is too heavy to bear, but also because there is a real risk, once the parents are no more, that brethren will no longer remain brethren and the harmony within an ecclesial community will be dissolved” warned Bishop Grech.