Mother Mary Gave Her Son Too


Mother Mary Gave Her Son Too.

Many know I was scheduled to go on a Peace Delegation to Iran which has been cancelled due to lack of a visa authority’s approval. This cancellation has resulted in many useful events occurring during my stay at the Fellowship of Reconciliation offices in Nayak, NY. Even if nothing else of value came of the unplanned occurrences, although many good things have come of it, another “chance” occurrence has made everything worthwhile.

That occurrence was that in a city as large as New York City, while walking around randomly before I took off on what I had planned to do, I came up upon St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a Catholic Church. I was raised Catholic and Catholicism is one of the systems I have experienced on my journey in life. I learned a lot in Catholicism, however the ethics of Peace and Nonviolence is not one of the things I learned as I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, attending church in the small town of Marshall, IL. That is not to say that some Catholics never knew about these subjects. The Early Roots of Catholic Christianity pre-Constantine, were full of Peace and Nonviolent spiritual beliefs, and even after Constantine, threads of this belief system remained in Catholicism through history via such giants of Faith as St. Francis of Assisi, and others. In the days I was growing up, there were people like Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker Movement, and Thomas Merton, the Trappest Monk, who possessed such beliefs and were, by the way, members of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) that Tuscaloosa Circles of Peace, of which Tuscaloosa Circles of Peace is and affiliate, and I am personally a member of. FOR has been hosting me the past few days as their guest. I knew nothing in the 1960’s of the Peace and Nonviolent strand in the Catholic Church. My Spiritual journey took another path mainly due to my Christ centered beliefs in Peace and Nonviolence.

Getting back to what, by itself, if it were by itself, which it did not alone make my trip to New York very valuable, it is this. Seeing the marble statue of the Mother Mary and the dead Jesus in her arms, (I saw the original in the Vatican, was particularly important to me, especially in view of seeing it a couple of days before Mother’s Day this year. I first walked by, my eyes saturated with many other things of beauty in St. Patrick’s. I was a little misty eyed and took a photo, and went on to view other things. Then, it occurred to me to just sit down in view of this statue and meditate in silence. As I viewed some Catholics kneeling on the kneeler bench in front of the statue and praying, and particularly of one Italian looking young couple with a small child in a stroller stopping to look, take pictures, and spend time in reflection, I began to think of the meaning and significance of the events portrayed in the statue. I unashamedly tell you that while I set in silent meditation and reflection for about 30 minutes, tears fell down from my eyes, as they also had of a young woman sitting near me who had left before.

I imagine I silently grieved and wept for about thirty minutes or so as I reflected that not only did God give his Son for the sins of all mankind, including his enemies (of which we ourselves were)  and also your and my current enemies, but so did his mother, Mary give this Jesus. This is the mother Mary holding the dead Jesus, the Savior of the world, and the Prince of Peace. Most all my beliefs in Peace and Nonviolence are founded upon Jesus, although other faith traditions have their own foundations of Peace and Nonviolence, which I also respect. Countless by human ability to count, other mothers and fathers have given up their sons, and daughters too, in war, thinking perhaps this was giving in the cause of Peace. Jesus was given, not only that we might be saved, but in this salvation we might possess true Peace which he said he would leave to us.

I can already perceive some Christian’s objections, “but he only brought salvation to those who believe.” If it is our belief, our own faith, then, I ask, is it not our own works and not by grace? Also, I may ask, If we believe Jesus came to bring forgiveness of sins and salvation to all mankind, why is it that many do not believe in the Peaceful and nonviolent Jesus, but only in the salvific Jesus? Should we not, if we believe in Jesus, believe in all of him?

Maybe a Peace Delegation to Iran is not needed so much right now. Maybe the war drums are dying down for now. Perhaps a Peace Delegation to our country, the United States, submerged in constant war for most of our history, and certainly the last 10 years is what is really needed first. Maybe Christians need a Peace Delegation, and certainly it seems some of our politicians need a Peace Delegation, if not many of them. Even many Christians act as if they do not believe Jesus is the Prince of Peace and perhaps do not really believe in Jesus in this manner. Maybe it is more expedient to address these folks first, and Iranians later…. Just thinking…

I might also add a final reflection, although I cannot share everything I was thinking about during my time in St. Patrick’s. That reflection is that not only the mother Mary gave up her son, and not only the mothers in our nation give up their sons, and the mothers in our ally nations, but also even more numerically, mothers of our enemies gave up their sons, daughters, husbands, and other precious, beautiful human beings created in God’s image, but labeled by some as just “collateral damage”.

Perhaps this Mother’s Day, and all other days, we should pray for all mothers, and for mothers of our enemies also. Pray for our Enemies too, while we are at it…

Grace and Peace,

John Cooper

About jcooperforpeace
Spiritual Director, Spirituality of Inner Peace

One Response to Mother Mary Gave Her Son Too

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