A Mother's Gaze

By: Anthony Beltrame

Anthony with his mother Pia Beltrame.

Anthony with his mother Pia Beltrame.

There's a certain look that only a mother can give.

It's that look of boundless love when she first laid eyes upon on you as a new born child. It's that look of sharp rebuke, when you should have known better. It's that look of sadness tinged with quiet acceptance as you leave for a long trip or begin on a new adventure in life. I'm sure we all know these looks well, and they are special because they signify the deepest and most familiar love a person has for us. But like all things familiar, we can sometimes take our mums for granted. So today I'd like to reflect on the gift of motherhood, and consider what we can learn from our mums.

Our mothers and fathers did not make us, but receive us as a gift from God. A gift not to be dominated or grasped but to be nurtured and loved; a gift to be received knowing that one day it will have to be handed back to God. And this is not an easy gift to receive; we know it's our tendency to grab hold and take control over the good things that come to us. This however is not the way of motherhood, and fatherhood for that matter too, and it also happens to not be the way of God either. We can see this through Christ's own life. The whole of his life was directed towards his giving of his body and blood for us on the cross. The whole of a mother's life is directed towards her giving of her body and spirit to conceive, bring into the world, and raise her child. On the cross Jesus did not cling to his equality with the Father but gave his life as a pure offering. So too there comes a day in a mother's life where she must not cling to her children anymore, but offer them up to the Father as they go out into the world and build a life for themselves. But the intimate connection between motherhood and the life of Christ does not stop there, for it was on the cross that Jesus gave his Mother to be our mother too. The woman who loved perfectly, who sacrificed perfectly, who did not abandon our Lord even when all his closest friends did, is now our Mother. Knowing this changes everything. We now have a mother who stands by us and intercedes for us in heaven with all the fidelity and love she has for Jesus. This is good news particularly to those who suffer the pain of having lost their mother, or who tragically have known only pain and torment at the hands of their earthly mother. Through Jesus' promise on the cross, we are guaranteed the loving embrace of our Blessed Mother Mary, an embrace which never ceases to lead us to Jesus.

Sometimes in our lives we can tend towards selfishness. We can tend towards what is most convenient and pleasurable at the cost of what is right and good. But as we have seen this is not the way of Jesus and it is not the way of motherhood. So today let us not forget all that our mothers’, both earthly and heavenly, have done for us. May it encourage us to be more selfless and sacrificial in all that we do. To my own mum I'd like to say thank you for all the sacrifices you have made for me and our entire family, I love you very much. For everyone else remember to give your mum a big hug and if that's not possible, at least a phone call with some words of love and a sincere prayer for her. So next time she gives you that look, be grateful and rejoice!


Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for Us.