Like a Father and Mother

“Be it unto me according to thy word.” This is Mary assenting to her great task, that of receiving a child from God, a task which she shares with all parents. And we can share Mary with her boy: if God is like a father, then Mary is the Church’s mother.

The Bible does not tell us very much about Mary, but we can still understand a good deal about who she was: a very young girl having her first baby in difficult circumstances. A strong mother, very much a part of her son’s life. One who remained after all the others fled and life was drained. Tradition has it that afterwards she lived for the rest of her days in the home of one of the disciples, St John, and that she became a pivotal figure in the primitive Church. She was the mother of God, but she also became like a mother to the disciples, and so she has remained for Christians throughout the ages. King Gustav Vasa wanted to rest before her altar. His Reformation was concerned with not obscuring God by any other person, not even by Mary, but there was no question of throwing her out – that happened far later. Now she is back here again. We can pray with her and all the children in the altarpiece. Perhaps they are praying for us as well.

You find it in the Lady Chapel.