Hail Mary, full of grace
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed are thou amongst women
and blessed is the fruit of they womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners
Now and at the hour of our death.
As best as I remember it, it was a dark December night. My little one month old girl was up - time to nurse again - and as I sat in the rocking chair I had the sudden realization:
God was once this small.
And Mary had held Him. Nursed Him. Rocked Him to sleep.
My God! My God... I saw then, truly, how much He had humbled Himself to take on human flesh. My own girl was born 7 pounds, 11 ounces... was Jesus born bigger? Or smaller? Did the Creator of the World sleep better in it than my little one? Or did He cry for the Heavenly Home He was no longer in? How did Mary care for our Savior?
Oh, Mary... you didn't even know what was in store for you. But you said "Yes" to God.
I can only imagine God chose her because she was growing in virtue and grace - and that as she responded to each new chapter in the life of her Son, she continued to grow in grace. And I know she faced a lot of hardships! But she started off just like me... with a little baby who needed so much.
Oh Mary, pray for me. I need the grace you have. Being a mother is so. hard.
And then I said something in my heart that, prior to that moment, I had only ever recited in my Catholic education class:
Hail Mary, full of grace...
It was the second revelation that night: Mary understands... she understands me. What a gift! You see, up until then I had only given mental assent to the verse that said that Jesus understands us in all our weakness. (Heb 4:15) But it was all mental. When I was agonizing over how I had been rejected by a high school crush, I had to remind myself that even though Jesus may not have been rejected by a love interest, he was rejected by many more Intellectually I understood that the root feeling I had was the same as Jesus' - but because our circumstances weren't the same, this thought process never brought me comfort. (Plus, one could even argue that he was rejected by all his love interests because He loved the whole world! So there. I'll see your rejection and raise you by 7 billion).
But that night, through Mary, I finally felt the comfort of being understood. I didn't have to do any theological jumping through hoops to figure out how to match my experience with Jesus' - He gave me Mary. She was a first time mother - I was a first time mother. I know she got it. I felt such peace.
And now, when my little girl lashes out against her brother...
... when my little boy cries and cries while being rocked to sleep
... when I am so weary I want to cry in a heap on the floor, but still need to make dinner
I say that Hail Mary again and I am still comforted.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow...!