Some of my most memorable childhood experiences took place in the kitchen with my Mom and Grandmother. In an Italian family (as, I suspect, in most families) the kitchen is mission-control - the place where all the action takes place. In our family, it was the place where meals were eaten, homework got done, tears were wiped, bruises tended to and corrections given. Even the fittings for my wedding dress took place with me standing precariously on top of my Grandmother's kitchen table while she pinned and re-pinned my dress until it was perfect.
I can't even begin to count the lessons I learned spending day after day, year after year just living life alongside my Mom and my Grandmother, sharing my thoughts, hopes and dreams with them as I watched (and sometimes helped) them perform the most mundane household tasks. What I know for sure, is that watching and working alongside them helped form me to see the world through their eyes, with their unique perspective and point of view.
I sometimes wonder what life was like in the kitchen of the Blessed Mother in the Holy Family's home at Nazareth. How many lessons did the young Jesus learn by observing his holy Mother busy about her household tasks? Paintings and artistic renditions of the Holy Family often look a little sterile, but the truth is, they lived a very real home-life, full of all the hustle and bustle, cares and concerns, struggles and triumphs that are part of family life. It was within the context of this home-life that the Blessed Mother helped form the humanity of Jesus, her Divine Son.
While we do not have the ability to physically transport ourselves back to the home of the Holy Family, Pope John Paul II, in his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae offers this beautiful thought: "The Rosary mystically transports us to Mary's side as she is busy watching over the human growth of Christ in the home of Nazareth. This enables her to train us and to mold us with the same care, until Christ is “fully formed” in us." (Article 15)
Mary is our Mother, given to us from the cross by Jesus himself. As a good Mother, she desires to form us, to help us see the world through her own eyes, with her unique perspective and point of view. When we pick up our Rosary, and deeply meditate on the mysteries we pray, we find ourselves seated at her feet in the kitchen of her home. It is there that we can pour our questions, problems, fears and doubts to our Mother who loves us. It is there that we can learn how she handled the difficulties and challenges she faced as she watched her Son, grow, suffer and die. It is there that we can allow her perspective challenge and correct our own, as she seeks always to lead us to her Son and conform us more closely to Him. It is there that we can allow her to dry our tears, soothe our fears and fill us with the courage to face another day.
The next time your pick up your Rosary, I encourage you to imagine yourself, seated in the Blessed Mother's kitchen, asking her to walk with you through the mysteries of the life of her Son.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
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