Behold Your Mother By Matthew Russell S.J. Part 6. The Child and the Mother.

"And entering into the house, they found the Child with Mary His Mother" (Matt. ii. II). Where else could they expect to find Him ? They had come a long way in search of Him, those Magi those princes and wise men from the far East; and this was the goal of their weary and perilous pilgrimage—a little Infant nestling in His young Mother's arms. The sign given a short time before to the shepherds by the Angel of the Lord might well have been expressed in these terms also. "And this shall be a sign to you: you shall find the Infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger" (Luke ii. 12). That was immediately after His birth; but we may be sure that He was not left long in that rude cradle ; and a little later on, if the star that guided the Magi could have spoken like the Angel, it might have said to them : '' And this shall be a sign to you : you shall find the Infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and folded in His Mother's arms—-you shall find the Child with Mary His Mother.''

And so it happens, certainly not by chance or heedlessly, but with, a deep and pathetic significance, that this same simple phrase is repeated five times in this second chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew. After the Oriental pilgrims had departed, an Angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying : "Arise, and take the Child and His Mother and fly into Egypt.'' "And Joseph arose and took the Child and His Mother" And afterwards, when Herod was dead, an Angel of the Lord recalled them from exile, saying to Joseph again the self same words : ''Arise, and take the Child and His Mother :'' and the Evangelist tells -as finally that "Joseph arose and took the Child and His Mother and came into the land of Israel.''

Mother and Child! Child and Mother! "Whom God hath joined let no man sunder." This emphatically is the union between the Immaculate Mother and the Child Divine put forward on the front page of the first of the Gospels. There and everywhere " you shall find the Child with His Mother." And where else, we may ask again, where else could we expect to find Him?

And so it has been ever since. Not only at Bethlehem and Nazareth at the beginning of our Lord's hidden life, but at the marriage feast of Cana in Galilee at the beginning of His public life, " the Mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus also was invited " ; and at the end upon Calvary, during that death of shame which was at once followed by the beginning of His glorious life, "there stood by the cross of Jesus His Mother '' ; and a little after, between the Ascension of the Redeemer and the descent of the Paraclete, it is written of the Infant Church, "All these were persevering with one mind in prayer with Mary the Mother of Jesus.''

Thus are Jesus and Mary together always. "You will find the Child with His Mother" So has it been ever since on earth, and so shall it be until the end on earth and then for ever in the world without end in heaven. And, if from this end which has no end, we go back to the beginning which has no beginning, we shall find the place of the Virgin Mother in the Christian dispensation clearly foreshadowed in type and prophecy. Sending back your thoughts far beyond the cradle of Bethlehem, back to the cradle of humanity itself—there on the threshold of history " you shall find the Child with His Mother "—the same Child and the same Mother, the Woman and her Seed. Nay, if we dared, we might go still further back and mount still higher up ; for in the decree of the Incarnation of the Son of God She was necessarily included through whom God the Son was to become incarnate— She was necessarily included through whom He who said " Behold I come " was in the fulness of time to come; and in this sense the Church accommodates to our Blessed Lady passages of Holy Writ which apply directly to the uncreated Wisdom of God.

The Blessed Virgin's place in the New Dispensation is indeed the most obvious of Christian truths; and it is not easy to let our minds rest on it, even in a passing way, without feeling ourselves moved to renew in our hearts our vows of loving and faithful allegiance to the Church in which alone we find the Child with His Mother. The "Hail Mary" is a sufficient sign of the true Church of Christ-Some thirty or forty years ago a poor lad who had entered the Limerick workhouse as a Protestant made the proper formal application to have his creed register changed. He was brought before the Board of Guardians,many, of them influential Protestants, and questioned as to the motives for changing his religion. " Why do you want to be a Catholic ? " I have preserved through all these years a scrap of The Limerick Reporter in which the boy's answer was given in precisely these words and no more "Because Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary.'' The answer was rather curt and abrupt, but really it contained a full and sufficient reason for the faith that was in him.

When we remember the attitude of the Catholic Church and of her alone towards the Mother of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ it is proof enough that this is the Church founded by the Son of that Immaculate Mother. So it has seemed plain to many who had not the happiness of being born within the Church's bosom, but to whom God sent His summons by angel or by star; and they came, and peered wistfully into the Holy House, "and, entering in, they found the Child with Mary His Mother."