Saturday, February 16, 2008

Adoptive Love

The Bible tells us that we are adopted by God the Father (Galatians 4:5-6).

"When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba, Father!' So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir."
As true children of God, this makes Jesus -- who was both fully God and fully Man -- our Brother. His death on the cross redeemed not only our souls, but that every part of us might enter in to His divine life!

It is no wonder, then, that one of the last things He did before He died was to forever secure that link to His humanity as well as His divinity. How? From the cross, He made Mary our mother when He said to the "beloved disciple," "Behold your mother ... behold your son." (John 19:26-27).

This is difficult for many of us who are new to Catholic theology to get our hearts and minds around. However, this is not just the opinion of one over-excited convert. The Church has venerated Mary since the very beginning, and delared at the Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431) that Mary is the "Theotokos" ... the "God Bearer." They honored her as such in response to heretics such as Nestorious who denied Christ's full humanity, for it was she who gave the Son of God His humanity.

So why is it that Christians can abandon themselves to an intimate relationship with Jesus ... yet continue to hold His Mother at arms' length? In a nutshell: adoption anxiety. For those who are raised in the arms of Mother Church, thinking of Mary as their "heavenly mother" comes very naturally -- just as it was no big deal for our Sarah to accept Craig's and my ministrations at the tender age of six months. At her age, she knew only that we met her needs, and she was happy.

For the older two children, that bond of trust took a lot longer to develop. It took WEEKS before they voluntarily came near my husband, and almost as long before they looked to me for any real "mothering." The older one especially insisted on doing everything herself.

One night I realized that this was a lot like how I had approached Mary. She knew she was my mother ... but she waited for me to ASK for her before she intervened. I tell several stories about this in my book.

The fact that I didn't WANT her didn't change the fact of her motherhood, didn't change the fact that she loved me even if I didn't love her.

"Honor thy father and mother." Jesus perfectly fulfilled the Commandments, and honoring Mary does not detract from the worship we offer God because all true devotion to Mary leads straight to Jesus. When we come to her, she always leads us to her Son.

2 comments:

Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle said...

Heidi,

What a beautiful blog! I pray our dear Blessed Mother will bless this place that you have been inspired to create. I hope that many are drawn here to share and to support one another!

God bless you dear Sister!
Love,
Donna

Sarah said...

Just love this, Heidi! :) (the blog AND this particular post)