The image of Mary as Mother is one of the most common images we already encounter of Mary. Of the many pictures ever painted of Mary, the vast majority emphasize her motherhood. St. Vincent also felt keen attunement to Mary as mother. His Italian phrase for Mary directly translates to “my mother who is deeply in love with me and most dear to me.” He saw Mary not just as the mother of Jesus, but also the mother of humanity. She can be mother to us all.
While the image of Mary with the baby Jesus in the nativity is prevelant this time of year, we also see Mary as the mother of the crucified Christ, the Mother of Sorrows. We know the story, and we know that her love of her son Jesus, while bringing her much joy in his birth, will also bring her much grief in his death.
In St. Vincent’s devotional writings about Mary, he invites us to hear what she might say to us. He sees her sorrow repeated in the sorry she feels for all of humanity in its brokenness. After all, she is our mother. Here, he writes that she might say:
If it were possible that I could be pierced again in heaven with the painful sword foretold by Simeon, I would allow that suffering to be renewed because I still see sinners who refuse to be converted, who ignore the mystery of the Incarnation, and who turn against the work of Redemption. My child if you wish, therefore, to console my heart, always strive to be numbered among the Children of God and not the multitude of sinners.