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How Can We Be More Like Mary?

It is May – the month of the Blessed Mother and the month in which we honor our earthly mothers. As I was reflecting on that, I began to think about one particular quality of a good mother: her desire for the best for her children; her willingness to sacrifice in so many ways to make sure her children have the best that a mother can make possible. The well-being of her children – health, education, advantages for the future, their relationships, the fostering of their talents and abilities – is ever uppermost in a mother’s mind and heart. But don’t forget what is most important.

God’s desire is that your children have such a life that God is at the center of their goals, their plans, their hopes and their dreams. Am I talking about everyone becoming a priest or sister? Of course not! But, what I am saying is that every mother (and father) should desire that their children, above all else, be formed in a way of life that makes them truly Christian – truly Christ-centered!

Whether they become doctors, artists, engineers or playwrights is secondary. The most important thing is that they know Jesus Christ. Once you’ve given yourself to God’s will, God’s way, you find a joy and a delight that no one can take from you or your children.

Everyone has a free will and the ultimate choices for their eternal destiny will be made by each of your children. No parent can do it for a child. But a parent can live a life worthy of the Gospel in such a way that it is attractive. Some children will be drawn, some will rebel, some will be indifferent – but you do it because this is the central piece of a mother’s vocation in Christ.

And then you pray! Scripture tells us quite clearly, “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do.” (John 14:13) What does that mean? Take a moment and think about it this way: Whenever you want a particular favor done for you or for someone you know and you don’t have the wherewithal to make it happen, you might go to a friend and say, “Would you put in a good word for me with so and so?” You trust that this friend will have influence on someone to affect the outcome of a decision in your favor.

Jesus says that we can pray to the Father in his name and our prayer will be heard. But I need to be sure that I have the same intention as the one whose name I use. Jesus’ intention is always that the Father’s will be done. When I pray in Jesus’ name, I am asking that God’s will be done in my child’s life. When you surrender your children like that you will eventually see great blessing.

So in short: God loves your children even more than you do. He wants them with him forever.

Spiritual exercises

1. Unite your will to God’s will by daily allowing your life to be more and more conformed to God’s will. Ask him for grace to surrender your personal life and your married life to his will.

2. As you do that, you will begin to grow in wisdom on how to pray for what is most needed in your child’s life – whether that “child” is 2 or 22 or 62. A mother’s prayers united with God’s will are powerful! “The prayer of a righteous man (or woman) is powerful in its effects.” (James 5:16)

3. If it is possible, form a small mothers’ group that meets monthly, or more frequently, if possible, to pray for your children together. The support of others praying with you for the needs of your children is supportive and encouraging and keeps discouragement from overwhelming you.

4. Where it is at all possible, I would encourage a husband and wife to pray together weekly for the needs of their children, surrendering them to the Lord and his will, praying for specific needs. When a couple is on the same page and continues faithfully in prayer, God will bless!

5. If you are a single mother, don’t be discouraged. The Holy Spirit will pray with you in a very particular way. You are not alone and God will bless your prayer.