One day in December, our new priest led an Advent reflection in the school gym and asked the students, “Who is waiting for the birth of a new brother or sister this Advent?”

Five hands went up.

“Oh my, isn’t this wonderful”, the priest exclaimed, without really identifying each face, “So many of you are waiting for the birth of a baby with Mary.”

Then a voice yelled out, “No Father, those are all Juneau kids with their hands raised.”

We had just moved to a larger house on a small family farm because we discovered I was expecting our ninth child. My oldest had started high school while five others attended a small, Catholic school with 10 grades from junior kindergarten to grade 8.

I must admit, as a woman, I have an advantage over men. Since I was pregnant for two of my children during Advent,  I can identify with the pregnant Mary in a deeper way. One Advent baby was born on Christmas Eve and the second, my youngest child, on Jan. 7,  the day after Epiphany.

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Mary, a Human Mother Yet Mediatrix of All Graces

Mary must have experienced what all birthing mothers experience the moment her baby was born;  all women forgot the exhaustion and pain of labour the moment we hold our newborn. However, I imagine her joy was even more profound because all the angels were rejoicing around them.

Imagine Mary gazing into the eyes of God Incarnate and soaking in His love. Why, there is something about even an ordinary baby’s open, trusting gaze that literally draws love from us, never mind looking into the face of the Infant God.

A newborn can see clearly for about 8″, just far enough to focus intently on an adult’s face. It is almost as if the initiative to bond comes from the baby first, especially when I consider their fierce hand grip they clutched fingers and clothing. To ensure mothers nurse, babies are  born with a powerful rooting reflex and a cry which literally triggers the let-down reflex for milk, soaking clothes if mothers do not start nursing quickly enough.

Babies do not even have a sense of themselves apart from their mothers for the first year because their whole identities are intricately entwined with mum.

I would think Jesus went through this same stage of development. No wonder Mary is the Mediatrix of All Graces; she soaked in the love of God as she nursed and held newborn Jesus and now simply allows this Divine Love to flow through her to us.


Copyright 2016 Melanie Jean Juneau