To say my mom is an emotional person would be the understatement of the year. My siblings and I made bets some Christmas’ as to which of our sentimental gifts would cause her to cry more. Growing up, if you would’ve asked me to describe my mom, I would’ve used all sorts of wonderful adjectives – "loving, generous, supportive," but probably not "strong." That is, until my world fell apart. When, in the blink of an eye, my wife was in the ICU, I had a new baby, and no guarantees about what the future held, I went to pieces, and I wasn’t alone. It turned out, the woman who couldn’t get through some commercials without shedding a tear, was the rock.
Giving thanks for my mom and watching the coverage of Fatima this weekend, I began thinking about what it means to be "strong." We might think it’s synonymous with tough, but if we look at the example of Our Blessed Mother, strength isn’t about deflecting pain, it’s about embracing it. Strength means standing at the foot of the cross, without being able to fix it or change it, and having faith in what the cross can bring. The "protection and care" we have received from Mary and our own mothers doesn’t help us avoid the difficult moments, it helps understand God’s presence within them and that’s a gift sure to make anyone cry.