Mothers in general are controlling. We’d like to hope we aren’t, but we are. And depending upon our personality, some of us are more controlling than others.
We want to have children that are holy, healthy, happy, safe, smart, and just pleasant to be around. We lovingly guide and sometimes order our children around in an effort to fulfill our responsibility to make sure those six objectives are all accomplished. But we are the nurturers, the “heart of the family. So, who to turn to as a role model? The most blessed of Mothers, Mary.
While meditating over the years upon the Wedding at Cana, I had always been confused by Mary’s role. Yes, we can all appreciate the obvious lesson from the outcome of the event, that Mary is our ultimate intercessor. But there is so much more to be realized: Mary as the Mediator and Co-Redemptrix; discovering the symbolism of the old and the new wine skins, and the foreshadowing of the Eucharistic feast at the heavenly wedding banquet. I once heard a priest say there was more in this passage than in most of the Scriptural events of Jesus’ life.
As a mother, I began to think about what was really happening between Mother and Child. It is the only place in Scripture that indicates that Mary humanly filled her role as a mother who advises and likely tells her child what to do, in spite of the fact that He was God. First, Mary went and stated that they had no wine. Based upon Jesus’ response, this was not just a statement, but rather a firm request to do something about it. He replied, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come." So Mary simply says, “Do whatever He tells you.”
For me, this is where the disconnect occurred. Early memories have me recalling that I should be obedient as Jesus was to Joseph and Mary. My later catechetical memories have me recalling that obedience is modeled after the Holy Family to God and to the Jewish law. But here, it seems like Mary is relinquishing all motherly coaxing/control back to her Son. And this is where my “aha” moment arrived! Who is Mary’s son? None other than God, Himself. Suddenly, it occurred to me that as we mothers struggle over moments in our children’s lives where we really have no control over their free will, we must turn the control over to God.
This is best realized later in our children’s teen years, when we allow them more freedom to choose between good and evil. These moments offer opportunities for them to grow in virtue. We can and must do our part by first advising, as Mary did, and then continuously praying and turning to God. It is even better realized when our adult children make grave moral errors and we may wish to save them from their sins. But Jesus has already done this, and we can only pray for God’s mercy.
We can never stop advising our children, but we must let them go, just as Mary did in that moment when she turned her desire back to her earthly son, Jesus… and ultimately turned control over to God, the Son.