'At Home' with our mother
One bright sunny morning, while living in Medjugorje as a journalist, Fr. Slavko invited me to go with him to the home of his mother. She lived in Citluk, just outside the village. As we arrived, we could see family members tending to yard work outside. Upon entering the house, I could smell a pot of strong Turkish coffee percolating on the stove. Sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews, were all present that day. But one person was not in the room … Fr. Slavko's mother.
"Where’s everybody?" he asked to my surprise.
As I looked around, I wondered if one more person could possibly have found a seat in the room? Later though, as he reflected, Fr. Slavko told me that even if everyone in the family is present, even if a room is packed full of people, if the mother is not present, the house feels empty.
During my time there, I heard Fr. Slavko speak eloquently, on many occasions, about the mother, the Blessed Mother, and about the beauty of her presence. How we could always be assured of 'feeling at home' in her presence as she guides us to Christ.
It would be many years later when I would recall, once again, Fr. Slavko's words. By then, I was a mother. My son, Patrick, had just started in Kindergarten. It was also a time in my life that seemed particularly busy and full of challenges. I felt the deep need to go on a pilgrimage. My mother-in-law graciously offered to help with Patrick, and off I went to Medjugorje.
After several days in Medjugorje, I called home to see how Patrick was doing. He told me all about his new school, how grandma was taking care of him – she never burnt the quesadillas, and daddy didn’t have to open the windows when she cooked!
But then he said, "Mama, I’m so homesick."
"How could you be homesick?" I asked.
Grandma is present, he is getting his favorite meals every day, I thought, as well as making all these new friends. Not to mention, that grandma and daddy were organizing a pizza party to celebrate his birthday. I even learned that evening the whole kindergarten class had been invited!
But there was no denying what really mattered to this four-year-old, about to turn five.
"It’s not home without you, mama," he cried.
I could hear the echoes of what Fr. Slavko had taught me years earlier.
This was not the moment to continue reasoning with a young child. His heart had spoken to him. And I, too, had just traveled thousands of miles – half way around the world as my husband reminded me – to 'feel at home,' and lean on my mother, our mother, our heavenly mother.
In an instant, I began to understand, more deeply than ever before, the importance and the value of this great role and gift that I had been given as a mother. But also, the great gift that God has given to us in His Mother.
How many times down through the years, had I visited a Marian Shrine to feel the beauty and the presence of our Blessed Mother, to seek her guidance, to know that she is with us, and to 'feel at home.' This is what we do, as mothers, in our own families. There is no substitute for the mother. And there is no substitute for the Blessed Mother’s guiding presence in our lives. I remember placing my hand in my pocket and clenching my rosary beads even more tightly.
Today, though, allow me to be a witness to you, about the role and the beauty of our Blessed Mother through the prayer of the Most Holy Rosary. As you pray each decade, and meditate on the verses of scripture, rejoice in the love of a mother who wants nothing but our good as she guides us to Christ. And, also know, that with the rosary in your hand, wherever you are in the world you will always 'feel at home' in her presence.
Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.