I just stumbled upon a blog that two of my friends from Divinity school have put together in conjunction with an amazing book that they have co-edited called "From the Pews in the Back: Young Women and Catholicism." Kate and Jen are thoughtful, funny, and real, so it's no surprise that their blog reflects all of those qualities-- and explores some experiences of (duh) young catholic women with a depth that I could never do here. I will definitely be following it myself, and imagine that I will be stimulated and challenged by the many perspectives represented in the blog.
As I scanned the last several blog entries, one by Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello jumped out at me, specifically her discussion of Mary as an ordinary woman. She writes, "To think of this woman who must have burped, fed, changed, scolded, punished, hugged, helped, and loved the boy who grew up to be Jesus Christ is to see a female role model who is both “real” and “attainable." It seems like whenever we have a little baby in the house, my own personal devotion to Mary increases-- specifically, I think, because I know that she can understand what I'm going through. Jesus probably doesn't "get" the whole two crying babies, a poopy diaper, and you have to go to the bathroom thing. But Mary probably does-- and, if Jesus was anything like other "high acheivers," I'm guessing he was a handful as a child.
Often, when I have a trying moment with the kids, I will start reciting decades of the Rosary: I love using it as a centering exercise, it is a form of prayer that I grew up with, and it's nice to feel like someone gets the whole motherhood thing. Some feminists have thrown Mary out as outdated and irrelevant, but in doing so, I firmly believe that they have thrown out one of the gems of not only Catholicism or Christianity, but one of the gems of all world religions. How can the Mother of God not have something valuable to offer women, people?
Mary was a woman who was a parent to the son of God... but she was also the parent to a real embodied boy, and man, can those toddlers be a handful at times. I wonder what sort of parent she was? And what type of child Jesus was? And what I could learn from those mundane and precious interactions between them?