The month of May gives us a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our Blessed Mother and all motherly figures in our world! It is an extended period to reflect on the quiet prayerful life of Mary and the powerful presence she is for us on her own and through her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
There are many images of the Blessed Mother, but the one that I always gravitate toward is her standing on the snake. The snake represents the serpent, or evil one, who tempts us to believe that we are unworthy, inadequate, and unlovable. Mary’s strength, without words, to step on the serpent is a reminder that, through her intercession, our Lord’s hope, mercy and love will always prevail.
We have a responsibility to share Christ’s love and joy with others. May is a beautiful month filled with reminders of Jesus’ presence in the natural world from the budding blossoms to the verdant trees, to the sweet song of the birds.
We see those signs in nature from God and know the darkness of winter is truly over. In a like manner, we can see that the dark knight’s quest for our souls can be vanquished if we trust in Christ and walk toward him always with our Blessed Mother’s loving support.
Mother’s Day can be a bit chaotic in our modern world. We see people caught up in the hustle and bustle of trying to please people with material things. It’s sad because when we lose sight of our Lord, the serpent rears its head and seeks to strike.
My husband and I went to a local department store on Mother’s Day weekend. When we walked in and saw the overwhelming number of people, I thought to myself “this was a mistake.”
We looked at each other smiling and stopped in the atrium and prayed that whatever we had planned for the excursion would be removed so that God’s plan could be revealed.
I still needed a new suit for graduations so in we went! People were not nice—at all. Frowns were everywhere and grumpiness was tangible in the air at every turn. This was Mother’s Day weekend and people were shopping for others. Shouldn’t finding ways to share love, affection, and gratitude for moms be fun?!
So, leave it to my husband and I for always trying to bring Christ into our encounters. We consciously and intentionally smiled and said hello to people. Going was tough. Genuine and sincere compliments were returned with cold and quizzical looks. Geez, the serpent was definitely slithering through the lot!
I found a suit and shoes—not an easy feat in a busy store filled with impatient and grumpy people. But the pinnacle of the experience was at the register. The line was long—very long. People were so frustrated they were leaving items in random places and walking away either cursing or mumbling to themselves.
My husband sat down and smiled at me. I stood in line, took a deep breath, looked down, and prayed. It was finally our turn and after watching the ONE woman doing her best to stay polite and upbeat run around frantically after being yelled at or receiving snide remarks, I stepped behind the register.
I grabbed a bag and began bagging the items she was scanning. A few people around me commented, “Look at you, you must be in a hurry.” I smiled and said “No, I actually have nowhere to be but here with her and you. I’m just helping. It’s clearly a mad house in here and she’s alone so I thought for Mother’s Day I’d help us all.”
They were speechless. They laughed a little uncomfortably but then began talking with one another gently commenting on each other’s choices and sharing how their weekends were going to be spent.
The woman working looked over at me. I just nodded and she smiled. My heart welled and I knew Mary and our Lord were there with us.
Together we stepped on the serpent. I caught my husband’s eye in the chair, and he gave me a thumbs up as he walked toward me and kissed my forehead. He whispered to me, “You always have a way of diffusing things.” I whispered back, “No love, our Lord does.”
May we always be open to sharing Jesus’s love, joy, and hope and walk with the grace our Blessed Mother taught us, and be bold enough to always step on that snake.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and those that love you!
Dr. Brooke C. Tesche is the Superintendent of Secondary Schools and Schools of Special Education for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Find her on Twitter at @bctesche. Learn more about Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at aopcatholicschools.org.
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