Fr. Nilo A. Lardizabal, OP
The recent Mass for Life and rally against the passing of the RH Bill last March 25, 2011, the Day of the Unborn, brought hundreds of thousands of people to a single place to pray for and defend life from its conception. Such event was the strong stand of the Church against those who would endanger human life, and thus the future of the country.
I was there, at the very front of the stage, watching and participating in the mass, and it was my personal decision to be present. A long line of priests and bishops filled the stage to almost full capacity, while sisters, seminarians and religious groups filled the entire seats of every available space. One very noticeable icon on stage was the popular Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was beautiful, adorned with flowers, seemingly watching her sons and daughters. Why not? Our Mother has been there at the most trying times in the Philippines. Through her prayers and intercession, she secured a bright future for our nation. It is then but right that we call on her again, our Mother of Life, when we are faced with yet another hurdle – this time not against political dictatorship, or power struggle, but against the weakest of humanity.
Our Blessed Mother is truly the Mother of Life because she gave birth to Jesus her Son in loving submission to the will of God. We know that she was unaware as to how the Lord would make her conceive “without knowing man”, yet she trusted with her whole heart. It was through her that life in us – the spiritual life – was born and took root. Her “yes” to life brought us life in the long run, and the rest was salvation history!
As a Mother of Life, she took care of Jesus, the ‘God-becoming-man’ as a really caring mother. She cooked, cleaned, taught and loved Jesus because she knew that the life she was taking care of will not just be for her but for the entire human family, including those who would come later on. It was the self-same love for Jesus which prompted her to fully live as a mother of life. Some authors wrote that Mary saw all of us in the Christ child. She may have surmised that if there were a few lapses in her care, the whole of humanity might be affected. Thus her love was executed in an eminent degree; and she still loves us in the very same way.
Not only during the younger years of Jesus, but at the most significant events as well was Mary able to fulfill her call to be the Mother of Life. Before the ministry of Jesus, it was the Blessed Mother who prompted her Son to change water into wine. The event of shortage in any wedding celebration spells embarrassment for the couple. Jesus’ miracle at the prodding of Mary brought life to the event, not humiliation. It meant that the couple will be ensured of a long and peaceful marriage because it was blessed with spiritual and corporeal favors. Yet again was Mary’s humble disposition exercised eminently.
The humility of Mary as Mother of Life witnessed even the death of her Son at the foot of the cross. Yet we ask, how can there be life there when Jesus himself was about to die? Many spiritual authors have enunciated that the death of Jesus brought life to our sinful nature. Mary was there to show us that. Wouldn’t it be tremendously traumatic for a mother to see their son die? An innocent one at that! Yet the Gospel of John records that Mary “stood” at the foot of the cross. How could she have stood? It was because she knew that the death of her Son meant life for the whole world. It was the same feeling she had when she said her ‘fiat’. It was the same vision she saw when she carried her Son in her lap. She accepted her role as Mother of Life during those times. It was assent to a painful, “sword-piercing” feeling of loss. Yet as one who espouses life, she knew it will not end there. The victory of life is one that has been seemingly purged first by pain and troubles.
Later on, at Easter and then at Pentecost, she was still there inspiring the weakened apostles with her presence. If she were sad and depressed, the apostles would be too. Yet she gave life to their droopy spirits by her significant presence. It was a presence of inner strength and humble disposition. No wonder she has been venerated all throughout these centuries. Her life brought life to the absence and emptiness of our own.
It isn’t any wonder why at the Quirino Grandstand, amidst the thousands who joined, she was there near the altar of her Son. She still has a role to play for all of us. As the Mother of Life, she will give life to our spirits seemingly overburdened by many enemies and tormentors. Like her, we only have to say our own ‘fiat’, so that we can be stewards of life as well.
Hail to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Life.
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