Three of my cousins will soon become mothers. For two of them, it’s the first time. One of them could even risk her life: a risk she would be willing to take. That’s what made me think about a mother’s love. It’s so pure, so… perfect! She brings this new human being to life: it’s the highest gift any person can give.
Now, there is somebody else that gave each one of us the greatest gift of all (the gift of being!) and he gave it freely, out of love. Of the many familiar images that can help us experience the love that God has for each one of us, I think that the love of a mother is the best and that we can all relate to it.
A man and a woman who love one another decide to journey through this life together: that’s where it all begins. A man and a woman give themselves fully. A man and a woman incarnate love in the most perfect way possible for limited humans. And because love by nature is fruitful, their mutual love generates a new being. They didn’t need a child. Maybe they thought of one, wanted one, prayed for one, but they didn’t need one. They could have lived, even been happy, without one. But such a profound love for each other begs to be shared with someone else. They crave with an intimate, holy desire to have a baby. They want him to participate in this incredible exchange of love. And the baby comes into the world. It enlarges the family. It makes it whole.
Then comes that epic moment when the mother embraces her child. She looks at this tiny little creature that has just come out of her womb and loves it with an indescribable love that only a mother can fathom. She is not thinking about her child’s future: what great deeds he will achieve, how intelligent he will be, how handsome, how rich, how… NO. She only sees a baby, her baby. There’re no second thoughts, hidden intentions, selfish feelings. There’s only that pure love we find in a mother’s heart. It’s such a rare love that we aren’t used to thinking about its depth, and if we ever come upon such a selfless love – in somebody other than our parents – we either reject it as false, not imagining it possible, or remain enthralled and captivated by its beauty.
Now, let us gaze upon the child. He doesn’t worry about cooking, working or planning his future. Nor does he try to figure out why this woman cares so much about him or what she wants from him. He just knows who she is – his mother – and he loves her because she is his mother. As he grows he may start losing this simplicity and will worry a bit (hopefully not too much) about doing his chores, behaving well and getting good grades. Yet even when he becomes an adult and doesn’t depend on her for his daily needs, any good son will continue to love his mother: not because she is pretty, not because she bakes delicious cookies, not even because she took care of him for all those years… He will continue to love her because she is unique: she is his mother!
God is love. He didn’t need us, but he willed to create us in order to share his infinite love with us. And he doesn’t put a price tag on his love his love. He just loves us: because we are, because we are his. Sound crazy? Hard to grasp? Either it’s a lie or it’s so true that it must change the rest of our lives. But only free love is true love: there’s no way around it. This is a ‘must have’. But even without having experienced it from our own family, God is still there, faithful: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast or have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will never forget you!” (Is 49,15).
Every time we see a family together, every time we see a mother embracing her child, every time we remember our parents and say, “I love you”, we can also remember our Father in heaven. He loves us so much that he created us (it’s like saying the same thing twice!) and gave us everything else. He wants us to love him, the Giver, and not only his gifts, loving us not for our deeds but for who we are. He brought us from being nothing to being his.
Photo Credit: Kudaker