Husband & Wife Articles


Mary, Mother Most

She is our model amid troubles and cares

By Jilu Jacob

We continue our reflection on five more Marian virtues and motherhood this week. Although I have miles to go in my relationship with Mother Mary, I find great comfort in the fact that she is so relatable and serves as a beautiful example of motherhood filled with faith.

Mary most obedient: Soon after hearing the news of her pregnancy, Mary proclaims, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word (Lk 1:38). If only we could say that with as much confidence and grace to our husbands when in the middle of a difficult situation! Yet it is important to realize that we are not meant simply to silence our concerns, opinions and questions – in fact, Mary asked the angel how she could have gotten pregnant without having had any relations with a man! But like Mary, even when we don’t fully understand, we are called to place our trust in the Lord, and specifically in the person that the Lord has placed at the head of our household, our husband. In doing so, we find ourselves being vessels of the Holy Spirit to our husbands and children and growing gracefully in the virtue of obedience.

Jacob Family

Mary most poor: I am sure that like any mother, Mary dreamed of how her child would be born. I doubt these dreams included a stable with donkeys and sheep. However, Mary’s spirit of poverty is not defined by her external surroundings but by the internal freedom, detachment and joy she had in those pivotal moments of her life. In today’s world of social media, it is hard not to want to show off our child’s cuteness, post photos from a lavish birthday party, or highlight various achievements. We truly should celebrate and share the joys of life, but many times we find ourselves attached to the social approval and puffed-up pride that comes with such things. It is when we are detached from material wealth and social approval and able to acknowledge each moment’s beauty and each child’s soul that we can grow in a spirit of poverty like Mary’s.

Mary most patient: Perhaps Mary most exemplifies the virtue of patience in her abandonment to God’s plan. As any mother, she surely had great hopes for Jesus and wanted to be a perfect mother, and rightfully so. He was the Son of God! Especially after losing Jesus in the temple and hearing him say that he belonged in his Father’s house, there were probably moments of confusion and self-doubt for Mary. Rather than despairing, she “treasured all these things in her heart” (Lk 2:51). She trusted, even when she did not understand. We can look to Mary’s example and confidence in God’s plan to understand how to be patient with expectant hope, especially in the uncertainties of life.

Mary most merciful: Mercy must be expressed in both physical and spiritual terms, through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. As mothers, we are called to be attentive to the physical and spiritual needs of our families. In the wedding at Cana, Mother Mary was attentive to the need for more wine and brought it to Jesus’ attention. Like her, we may bring our needs to Jesus. At other times, we are called to be the hands of Jesus by taking the extra step to provide food, water, clothing, and shelter to our family and others. 

Mary most sorrowful: As joyful as motherhood can be, it may also be filled with sorrows – miscarriages, death of loved ones, financial difficulties, among others. Through these moments, we grow stronger, more loving and more compassionate. At the beginning of my daughter’s life, I struggled with many tasks amid my crazy postpartum hormones. Even in those relatively small sufferings, I found solace in Mary’s life. Soon after her Son’s birth, she had to run to save his life! She underwent many other trials, and ultimately watched her Son die on the cross. She understands our every sorrow, unites her intercession to our pleas, and encourages us to carry our crosses joyfully and with hope in God’s plan.

Although the Gospels do not speak much of Mary, we know enough of her life to admire her maternal virtues. I know that as I grow as a mother, I will continue to look to Mary to remind me of the life that I am called to live!

Jilu Jacob is a wife, mother and nurse living in Massachusetts with her husband, Roger, and their daughter, Magdalena. She is a first generation Indian American, a Jesus Youth, and her family observes Syro-Malabar Catholic traditions.