I cannot sleep until my children are home. These days as a mother of teenagers, it makes for some late nights on the couch, phone in my hand, until I hear the car pull in, the door click open. Their father is able to sleep soundly without one speck of worry in their absence, and I don’t blame him, nor do I envy him. I’m a mother and from what I can understand so far, mothers do not rest. Mothers persevere, wait up, go over the study questions, pray the rosaries, find out what’s really going on, imagine the scenario for better or worse, discern a heart with one look or one word said or unsaid, make the sandwiches, write the notes, schedule the appointments, look them in the eye until their real emotions make their way to the surface, ask the difficult question, listen to the answer, and make sure they have what they need even when they don’t know what that is. A mother is operating on a bunch of levels at once, juggling on behalf of her children. Mothers do not quit, even when it’s hard or messy.
It is this kind of dedication that leads many to a devotion to our Heavenly mother, Mary. And it’s precisely this ferocity, protection, and help that many seek when they visit a place like Medjugorje, a small village in Bosnia where Mary is said to appear, give messages, and intercede for her children, which is all of us. Medjugorje is one of many places that Mary is said to have appeared over the centuries. She has been busy. At Fatima, Guadelupe, Knock, Lourdes, and many other places around the world, her message is consistent: know how loved you are, pray, seek Jesus, receive peace. Mary speaks with a mother’s authority and love, and people receive clarity, direction, and healing through her intercession. I have a couple of friends leaving for Medjugorje tomorrow, and I find myself wishing I could pack myself in their luggage. Some day I will make that trip.
Until then, I talk to Mary and to my mother who art in Heaven, and I know they listen because that is what mothers do. And they help, give advice, guide, protect and defend me, because that is in their very nature as mother. They do not give up on me and they do not rest. They will not sleep until their children are all Home.