Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wife Rule #109: Love Mothers

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

(John 19:25-28)

If Jesus is our ideal Exemplar in all things, and I testify in my own small way that He is, then this simple story contains a tremendous amount for us to learn about the way we should love, and care for, our mothers.

The scriptural record is incomplete as far as detailing what happened to Joseph, the husband of Jesus' mother Mary. The last we hear of him directly is in the brief description of Jesus' childhood, when he and Mary frantically searched for her missing son and found him in the temple with the learned men of the day. There are passing references to him later on, such as when Jesus' unbelieving neighbors asked "Is not this the carpenter's son?" (Matthew 13:55) In that passage we also learn that Mary and Joseph had several sons and daughters as well, so we know Jesus had brothers and sisters. But Joseph the carpenter doesn't make any further personal appearances in any of the four gospels.

It seems probable that Joseph had died by the time the Savior was suffering on the cross. This would make Jesus' mother Mary a widow, now in the care of her several sons and daughters. Why would the Savior, in His own time of tremendous suffering, with the literal weight of the entire world on his shoulders, be thinking of who would care for his mother after he was gone?

Because He loved her.

Apparently the Savior of mankind thought it important enough to make one of His final acts in mortality the entrusting of his mother's care with a faithful disciple. Not only was John beloved of Jesus, but John had received a singular promise from the only Man on earth able to fulfil it, that he would tarry on this earth until the Savior's return (John 21:20-24).

Peter, James, and the other disciples who were also just as devoted to Jesus' cause would almost certainly be just as capable as John in caring for a still young Mary, but Jesus entrusted his mother's care to the one disciple who He knew would outlive them all. They had been called to eventually die martyr's deaths; John had been called to endure an unnaturally long life. This is the disciple charged to take care of Jesus' mother.

Only after taking care of this very important matter did Jesus know that "all things were now accomplished."

May we follow Jesus' example with the mothers in our lives. There are several in mine. My birth mother has devoted her life to loving and serving her children. My life has been blessed beyond description, including in ways I do not yet fully comprehend, by her labor of love. My mother through marriage gave the same service and devotion to the lives of my wife and her siblings, and now also blesses me personally. My wife is currently following the same pattern, spending her strength and energy giving and enriching the lives of my children, and exalting me as her husband.

One of my mothers already is a widow, like Jesus' mother likely was. The two other mothers I mentioned may someday be widows. Regardless, each of them requires the same kind of thoughtful, loving attention the Savior showed to His mother. This attention and love often doesn't come during times of convenience or ease, but rather, in the midst of the hectic joys and turmoils of life. But it must come.

Love mothers. They are worth it. They deserve it.

1 comment:

Mom said...

Thank you, Matt. I love you.