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8 May 2020

Mary, Mother of God and Mothers’ Day

As a classroom teacher of senior students, I normally ask them what their plans…

As a classroom teacher of senior students, I normally ask them what their plans are for the future. I also ask them to picture themselves in 20 years, and ask them to tell me what they see. It becomes clear that it is something that many don’t really consider, even though we cover the concept of vocation in our secondary Religious Education curriculum. This isn’t very surprising as the young tend to live more for the moment or very near future – looking ahead one week can be a long time for a teenager! However, once our students stop to think about it, many see themselves married with children, and their careers are much less certain. It is pleasing to observe our students predict fatherhood as a vocation for themselves. For most adults, family is the most important feature of their life. Blackfriars seeks to produce graduates that are fine, upstanding and responsible gentlemen, amongst other attributes. We also seek to produce great husbands and fathers.

Having attended numerous graduation ceremonies over the years, including for two of my daughters’, it has struck me that I’ve only heard careers mentioned as students are presented and their future plans announced. I cannot recall it ever stated that ‘fatherhood’ or ‘motherhood’ is a feature of a student’s future (although I’m sure for many it is something they see in themselves). I’m not sure why this most important future plan is not stated. Perhaps the future plans mentioned are short to medium-term. Perhaps perceived financial needs delay marriage, motherhood or fatherhood to a time beyond foreseeable.

Being a good mother (or father) is sacrificial and in many cases burdensome. In an increasingly individualistic world, this may be seen as oppressive. I view Mary, Mother of Christ, as a person of great sacrifice. I also view her as someone that would have experienced many of the same experiences as mothers today. At a most basic level, the pains of labour and childbirth and the joys of holding your newborn. Later in life, mothers can be embarrassed by the behaviour of their sons. In Mark’s Gospel (Mark 3:20-35), Jesus was in the midst of preaching and healing near his home, and many considered him mad, and his family including Mary was clearly embarrassed by this, and probably worried for Jesus’ welfare. Good mothers feel their children’s pain, and stand by them no matter what, even when the actions of their child are the cause. I doubt there could have been a greater pain than that of Mary’s as she stood beside Jesus and saw him humiliated, tortured and executed.

Mary bore a great burden, and she also bore our saviour.

For the mothers of our boys from Reception to Year 12, and our boys and girls of the ELC, I wish you every joy your children can provide this Mother’s Day. I wish you the same joy that Mary expressed in the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), even though your sons are not God!

Your Mother is always with you

She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street.
She’s the smell of certain foods you remember, flowers you pick, the fragrance of life itself.
She’s the cool hand on your brow when you’re not feeling well.
She’s your breath in the air on a cold winter’s day.
She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep, the colours of a rainbow.
She is Christmas morning.
Your mother lives inside your laughter.
She’s the place you came from, your first home.
And she’s the map you follow with every step you take.
She’s your first love;
Your first friend;
Even your first enemy,
But nothing on Earth can separate you.
Not time, not space…
…not even death.

Matthew Crisanti

Assistant Principal, Religious Identity & Mission