“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.” - John 19:25-27
There is nothing quite like a mother’s love and affection for her children. It is unconditional. It is patient. And, above all, it is sacrificial. I know what you’re thinking… this is beginning to sound like the front cover of last year’s mother’s day card. Maybe, but it’s real. I was fortunate enough to grow up knowing this kind of love. I’ve seen this in my own family with my own eyes and felt it in my own heart. Love gives; it never takes. The sacrifice is extraordinary.
Mothers are the real heroes.
As a kid, I remember waking up in the morning and the first thing I would do is run to the side of my parents bed and lay my head gently on my mom’s chest and sometimes wrap my arm around her. Usually before she woke up. Now that I think about it... that was probably super startling. But honestly, I guess that was one of the simple ways I said “I love you, mom” without saying it at all.
While this is my story, I’m aware we all have very different circumstances and relationships with our moms. Some are great, some estranged, some that were never known, some whole, some broken. I’m keeping that in mind as I write, but that’s not the focus. I want to remind you today that you have a spiritual mother, my friend. And she’s interceding for you, holding you close by day and by night, and working overtime to get you back to Jesus.
I’ll be the first to admit that I often struggle being in relationship with my Blessed Mother, Mary. So much so that I was unsure if I could write this reflection. I felt l could not adequately articulate the message we originally intended to deliver in writing this song...In fact, I gave up twice. But I felt that was only the enemy putting lies and doubt in my mind. I fought it hard. And If you’re reading this, I’m here to testify that the enemy does not stand a chance. He has no authority over you or any situation. Believe this in your heart and remember today that Jesus has already won and declared victory over every single one of your battles.
Over the last few years, I was approached by several people asking that I write a song about Mary, the mother of Jesus. It was something I planned to do for a while, but it was confirmed when a woman not too long ago commented on one of my videos asking that I write a song about Our Lady. That was it. Greg and I were on a phone call talking about a few upcoming projects we had in the works which led to the conversation of writing a Marian song. I had Greg over one afternoon for a writing session and we talked through a couple ideas that were already in motion. Greg had verse ideas and I was playing a few different progressions and melodies and suddenly there was a shift in the room. You could feel it. There was an unexplainable beauty that was personified in the simple nature of this song. We felt it spoke to the nature of Mary, the mother of God.
So we took a short break for coffee - because if you know either of us that’s a given during a write, or really anytime we have an excuse for it.
Soon after, we dove back in and were so moved by what God - and his Mother - were doing in that space. We felt an invitation to move beyond our preconceived and devotionally inspired approaches to Mary, and to simply enter into the face-to-face, foundational reality that “I am your son,’ and “You are my mother.” We were excited and knew this song was going to be special, because first and foremost, the moment was a special one in our own relationships with our Mom.
Crafting a song is a beautiful and unique process and usually looks different every single time. Perhaps you picked up on this. But in a sense there are two voices being sung throughout this song. The first voice is our own voice - the sound of our cry and honest petition, “Oh Mother of mine, lead us to your Son.” The second is the voice of Mary singing a lullaby over us - the sweet melodies and expressions of the violin. This song in its entirety is written in a posture of prayer, but we were inspired to include an excerpt from John’s Gospel which changes the initial perspective: the demonstration of Jesus emptying himself on the cross and giving his own Mother to the world, to us, as our own mother.
“Behold your son, behold your Mother… lead us as one, back to our Father”
The Mother of God is also my mother. She’s the Mother of all, filled with grace and interceding for each of us. Not only was Jesus making sure his Mother would be cared for after his death; he’s even more so making sure we understand the reality of our relationship with her. He gave up his life on the cross but at the hour of his death gave us his own Mother, and gave us to her.
There’s a sense of closeness. But maybe sometimes we don’t feel that way towards our spiritual Mother. We all have varying experiences in our relationships with our earthly mothers, and similarly, with Mary our spiritual Mother. Who Mary really is and how we relate to her is - even if to a small degree - still to this day a topic of debate within our own Catholic tradition and certainly more so across denominational lines. Maybe this is in and of itself the indicator that it’s worth the discussion. It’s worth the effort to understand who Mother Mary is. It’s worth spending time getting to know her and growing in that relationship of mother and child.
Mary leads us directly to Jesus. Period. She has first shown the world what authentic love looks like by her “yes”. The closer we are to Mary, the closer we are to Jesus. Authentic love always gives, it never takes. The sacrifice is extraordinary.
It’s about more than a devotion, it’s about an eternal, maternal relationship.
- Written by John Finch
DEVOTION VOL. 1
Oh Mother is a part of a 7 song worship EP called DEVOTION vol. 1 by The Vigil Project. This album features a collective of Catholic artists from around the US.
Be the first to hear about new music, events, and free resources.