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mary as a mother

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
i was thinking today about the range of emotions we feel as mothers - from pure joy and delight to vast, deep love, to frustration and impatience. and i began to wonder how mary felt as the mother of jesus, and what kind of a baby/child he was. after all he was human as well as divine. did he do things that pushed her buttons? how did she handle stressfull situations? did she ever lose her temper? even though i'm no longer a christian, i grew up devoutly catholic and mary has always been close to my heart. and i like to think that all of our children are divine and potentially a profound spiritual leader as i see jesus. just wonder what you think...........
post #2 of 22
I actually think about Mary as a mother and Jesus as a youngster an awful lot. I am convinced that they had their rough patches. Even if Jesus never intentionally misbehaved or pushed mom's buttons, there are times in the life of a babe that are stressful. He cut his teeth same as you and I, and it hurt and he cried. Even if he was immune to illness (which is just never really addressed that I know of) he would have had a few bad days after his bris, he would have stumbled learning to walk, etc. He would have had growth spurts and days he just couldn't seem to nurse enough. These are all things that make a moms day stressful. I sometimes try to imagine poor Mary, on the third day of a nursing binge, Jesus whining from the teething pain, Joseph coming home looking for dinner, opening her mouth to snap at someone, the baby, her husband .. anyone... and stopping. 'This is the Son of God... I can't lash out like that!' I try to remember that my babe is the child of God as well, and let that temper how I behave towards her.

Another interesting thing I contemplate is this: From Catholic teaching pain in childbirth is the punishment for Original Sin (Eve and the apple). Mary was born of an Immaculate Conception, ie had no Original Sin. So... when she gave birth in that stable, she was almost certainly a bit afraid at being alone and far from home, but did she feel the pain of labor and childbirth as we know it?
post #3 of 22
Kama'aina.... I believe that it is taught (in our church) that Mary did not experience pain during childbirth. There are some who say that she didn't experience childbirth at all because that would "disrupt her virginity". Instead, they seem to think that Jesus was sort of beamed out of her body. Personally, I find that level of piousness too extreme for even my tastes. People, it is not childbirth that causes one to lose her virginity!

I agree with your thoughts on what it must have been like to be the mother of God. Yes, he was a fully human baby and most likely had those normal teething moments. Even though Mary's my model of motherhood, sometimes I find it difficult to relate to a mother whose child never deliberately disobeyed her. Must have been nice.
post #4 of 22
You are Catholic, right merebear? (My memory for things like this is dreadful!) I find the whole 'sustained virginity' thing so odd. The legend, as I know it, is that her hymen was still intact after Jesus' birth but that he did enter the world by the usual route. I want to say that my mom told me that one of the apostles who had been a physician (Matthew maybe?) became very close friends with Mary in the later years and that a lot of this information comes from their talks.

There was the time that he stayed behind in the Temple to teach and Mary and Joseph where scared out of their wits. If that's not a typical parental moment, I don't know what is!
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Even though Mary's my model of motherhood, sometimes I find it difficult to relate to a mother whose child never deliberately disobeyed her. Must have been nice

this is partially my point.... do we know that when jc was small he never disobeyed his mother, or was never mischeivious, or never threw a fit because mom said "come inside now", or " no, you can't have that"? as i said he was a human baby. and if as an adult he showed his temper with the money changers in the temple, what would keep him from doing the same when he's small with (most likely) less self-control? and do you think mary ever lost it and felt like saying loud and firm "young man, you get your butt inside this house now!" (or similar words of frustration that moms are pretty universally known to use when they've reached their limit)?

kama - i agree that i too try and remember that dd is just as divine as jc. esp. when i'm out of sorts and feeling less than divinely inspired........:
post #6 of 22
We don't have a lot of information about Jesus as a toddler/young boy, but at 12 yo he had a concept of His Calling on the earth, and told all the priests in the temple about it--he talked for 3 days! So his life development was quite different, although yes, human (teething, nursing, etc.).
post #7 of 22
I'm not Catholic, but have always thought so deeply about Mary. Recently in one of the re-done t.v. movies about Jesus (I think Jacqueline Bisset plays Mary and the woman who plays Grace on Wil & Grace plays Mary Magdeline), shows Mary struggling with what her son needs to do~leave and minister, die at the cross, etc. I was struck by how they showed her suffering as a mother. Even though she knows this is what must be done, her heart aches so deeply.

I have a small blessed mother Mary charm on my necklace. I wear it often and when I'm struggling with Motherhood, I touch it and remember what she went through and it gives me strength.

Thanks for the wonderful thread!

Warmly~

Lisa
post #8 of 22
Actually, I was re-reading this thread, and it occurred to me that lisamarie is exactly right. Even if Jesus was a model child, not colicky, obeyed his parent/guardian, etc., Mary had some individual struggles to cope with that most people don't even have to ponder wrt their own children. I mean, how often do we leave a city b/c they are killing all the infants under two? Go live in a foreign country without preparation but in escaping? (Just a side comment--yes, I understand that at times there have been and are atrocities that happen to certain ethnic, religious groups, etc., selfishness and wickedness that happens to innocents, but I'm kind of talking about those of us involved in this discussion/boards).

Anyhow, Mary was one awesome woman. Gabriel even told her that God thought so!
post #9 of 22
She had to be so paranoid. I mean when she carried Jesus around the house she was carring God. It sucks to trip and fall and hurt your babe but what if ou tripped and fell and hurt GOD. How many of us have doubts about whether we are doing a good enough job at being parents, making the right choises? SHe must have over analized every little step, every little mistake.

How would it feel if you knew your son had to be tortured to death as a ransom for your sins. Talk about mama guilt.

While Jesus didn't sin I am sure it was frustrating at times when she didn't understand what his reasoning for doing things were. The temple couldn't have been the first time they were ticked at him and his response was something like "What else would I have been doing".
post #10 of 22
See I can never get it straight in my head how much of what was inevitable Mary was aware of. I tend to thinking that she knew he would be a big prophet and maybe hoped he would liberate Israel. I don't think she knew about the ugly end to his ministry. Can someone tell me about gospel that says differently?

Yeah, the fleeing to Egypt would have been hard on her, knowing that they were after her babe and who he really was. On the other hand, a pat on teh back straight from God delivered by His angel... not bad. Looks real good to some of us who have a hard time getting an 'atta girl!' out of our own husbands some days!
post #11 of 22
lilyka - i was thinking of the temple situation too - how strange that must have been!

This reminds me of the movie that depicts the life of the Dalai Lama (anybody remember the name?) where they show him as a young boy and he was so purposeful and calm. I imagine boy Jesus as very much like the boy Dalai Lama, different than other kids, not necessarily following his earth parents wishes or societal conventions, but very much not disobeying his heavenly father's wishes. I think that to have custody over a child like that must be a true walk of faith of your own. I think as parents we are entrusted with custody over "our" children - we don't own them though we often find ourselves trying to shape them and in battles of will with them, and we love them like no other thing on earth.

I don't know how much Mary knew or believed that Jesus was supposed to fulfill - my impression was that the scripture Jesus fulfills by dying is in Isaiah and in the OT elsewhere, but I'm totally not sure. I'm also not sure how much of that Jesus came to know for himself as an adult. I don't think its as clear as a roadmap anyway, I think it must have been scary and hard - trusting and hoping and letting go of all you want to hold and protect.
post #12 of 22
Well, there are some apocryphal gospels (not the formal apocrypha that you'll find in Catholic bibles, but really whacked-out stuff that is officially considered heretical by pretty much everybody) that purports to be about Jesus's childhood. Some of it is hair-raising in the extreme (one story has him striking dead some playmates who made fun of him!), some of it is kind of oddly cute (another story has him bringing some clay pigeons to life, just for fun).

The book I'd recommend on this -- seriously -- is called "Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Friend." I read it recently. It's hilarious, first of all, and on the irreverent side -- but it actually treats Jesus, and his mission on earth, quite seriously. As Biff tells it, "Josh" was always a very, very good kid -- while nonetheless giving his mother all sorts of headaches just because, well, it's amazing the kind of trouble you just get into when miracles sometimes happen around you.

My favorite aspect of the book was the depiction of Mary Magdalene ("Maggie"). I checked out the Amazon.com reviews of the book after reading it because I was curious how many people were offended by it. Somewhat to my surprise, the vast majority of professed Christians who'd reviewed it gave it 4 or 5 stars.

Anyway. If you will be horribly offended by the idea that Jesus developed some of his powers by studying meditation in India, then definitely give this one a pass. But otherwise, I highly recommend it, for some very thought-provoking speculations on the life of Jesus and what it might have really been like to know him.
post #13 of 22
I love to think about and picture in my mind Mary holding the newborn baby Jesus and nursing him in the manger. I don't think most people think about the fact that Jesus was breastfed. He is the model for all of us.....we are taught to follow in his every foot step...shouldn't we have our children start off doing the same...by breastfeeding!!?!!!
I also agree with even though Mary knew He was/is the only begotten Son of God, I'm sure she must've felt frustrated and impatient at times. Even with a solid eternal perspective it is so easy to only think/feel in the moment. And I don't think that's bad. We know that our children are the children of God (as are we) and we are still frustrated and impatient with them (and with ourselves). I'm sure Heavenly Father feels frustrated with us at times. And he is a perfect parent!
post #14 of 22
Speaking of Mary nursing Jesus~I got the greatest Christmas Card from the Attachment Catalog. Its a card showing just that~Mary nursing Jesus!

Warmly~

Lisa
post #15 of 22

Luke and matthew

Kama'aina,

Luke was the physician and he was not an apostle but rather lived a couple of hundred years after Jesus would have. Matthew was a tax collector.

I was a Catholic for many years--went to Catholic school--and I NEVER heard of the "non-birth" story.....
post #16 of 22
Just wanted to mention a book you guys HAVE to get. It is a children's book with the most beautiful pictures of Mary nursing Jesus. One of my most prized possesions!!

The Story of Christmas
words form the Gospels of Matthew and Luke
pictures by Jane Ray
post #17 of 22
you guys talking about images of Mary nursing Jesus: did you know that La Leche is called that after a statue from a church in St. Augustine, FLA? La Virgen de la Leche y Bien Partida (Our Lady of the Milk and of the Happy Delivery). One of the original founders of LLL saw the shrine on a visit to FLA and thought it would be a nice image
It's a pretty cool statue; you can probably find a pic of it somewhere on the Web. That said, there's lots of Madona and Child art from middle ages and renaissance that clearly show a big, fat toddler Jesus nursing. I always look for one of those for my Xmas cards...
post #18 of 22
PerfectLove~

I have that book too~gotta luv it!

Warmly~

Lisa
post #19 of 22

OT, sorry in advance

Wow, somebody dug out an old thread. Cool.

Quote:
Originally posted by Naomi
Well, there are some apocryphal gospels (not the formal apocrypha that you'll find in Catholic bibles, but really whacked-out stuff that is officially considered heretical by pretty much everybody) that purports to be about Jesus's childhood. Some of it is hair-raising in the extreme (one story has him striking dead some playmates who made fun of him!), some of it is kind of oddly cute (another story has him bringing some clay pigeons to life, just for fun).
.
These are the gnostic texts and IMO are not more whacked out than the accepted gospels found in the NT. We are just used to the accepted ones, even to the point of believing a virgin could literally get pg and give birth, even to the point of believing any human could ressurrect in the flesh, without going thru reincarnation, etc. All out of the ordinary, supernatural events. I know when I was expected to say I believed in the Apostles Creed when i was 13, to get confirmed, i had to cross my fingers to do it, and so did my dh. I mean, come on! I was skeptical.

And how "whacked" is the Revelation of "John"!?


The gnostic texts were written by original xians, before, during and after "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John," and Paul's letters. It was an extrememely hectic and dangerous time, right around when the Jewish Temple was destroyed for the 2nd time, and the Roman empire was really getting going. Til the middle of the 20th century, we had very few of these gnostic texts. They were burned as heresy, along with their authors quite often, along with most Greek scientific texts and knowledge in general. Ushering in the Dark Ages. (We do have tons of written refutations of them by the literalists/proto-Roman Catholics of the day however.) Then in 1945, 53 of these texts were found in Upper Egypt, in a large jar buried in a cave. Someone in those ancient days thought they were extremely important (not whacked), but most Christians find them still so taboo, they are still not getting out into the public eye. Biblical scholars are well aware of them however.
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally posted by darlindeliasmom
you guys talking about images of Mary nursing Jesus: did you know that La Leche is called that after a statue from a church in St. Augustine, FLA? La Virgen de la Leche y Bien Partida (Our Lady of the Milk and of the Happy Delivery). One of the original founders of LLL saw
Good point darlindeliasmom. My WAB says the original Spanish is: "Nuestra Senora de la Leche y Buen Parto."

I guess if you gave birth and remained a virgin, that would be a buen parto indeed! It's odd that (some) Catholics believe this, as they seem to take the Bible less literally than many Protestant sects (as the footnotes from the Catholic Bible I browsed thru indicated.)
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