For all my born-again piety, I was still 15 years old and all too conscious of "cool." Just months before, I'd left behind several years of delinquency and accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior in a Protestant church. My parents, who were not particularly devout Presbyterians, noticed the change in me and heartily approved. If it took religion to keep me out of juvenile detention, so be it.
From the conversation I overheard, I could tell I'd be going home. I felt instant relief--followed by serious concern. My mother will have to pick me up! What if my friends see her leading me out of the school? What if she tries to put her arm around me? Humiliation was on its way, rapidly approaching Upper St. Clair High School in my mom's Oldsmobile. I could already hear the guys jeering at me, the girls writing me off as a prom date. If I had been a Catholic at the time, I might have recognized the next 15 minutes as purgatorial. Although I stared at the ceiling above the nurse's couch, all I could see was my future as "Mama's Boy."
I heard the office door click open and Mom's voice exchanging pleasantries with the nurse. I sat up to face a woman coming to me with the utmost maternal tenderness.
"Mom," I whispered, before she could get a word out. "Do you suppose you could walk out ahead of me? I don't want my friends to see you taking me home."
That dear woman didn't say a word. She turned and walked out of the nurse's office, out of the school and straight to her car. From there, she mothered me home, asking how I felt, making sure I went to bed with the usual remedies.
It had been a close call, but I was pretty sure I'd escaped with my cool intact. I drifted off to sleep in almost-perfect peace.
It wasn't till that night that I thought about my "cool" again. My father visited my room to see how I was feeling. Fine, I told him. Then he looked gravely at me.
"Scott," he said, "your religion doesn't mean much if it's all talk. You have to think about the way you treat other people." Then came the clincher: "What you did to your mother today was shameful."
Scott Hahn is author of 'The Lamb's Supper: The Mass As Heaven on Earth' (Doubleday).
Yet isn't that the way it is with many Christians? As he hung dying on the cross, in his last will and testament, Jesus left us a mother. "When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to His mother, 'Woman, behold your son!' Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother!' And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home."
We are his beloved disciples, his younger siblings. His heavenly home is ours; his Father is ours; and his mother is ours. Yet how many Christians are taking her to their homes?
Moreover, how many Christian churches are fulfilling the New Testament prophecy that "all generations" will call Mary "blessed"? Most Protestant ministers--and here I speak from my own past experience--avoid even mentioning the mother of Jesus, for fear they'll be accused of "crypto-Catholicism." Sometimes the most zealous members of their congregations have been influenced by shrill anti-Catholic polemics. To them, Marian devotion is "idolatry" that "puts Mary between God and man" or "exalts Mary at Jesus' expense." Thus you'll sometimes find Protestant churches named after St. Paul, St. Peter, St. James, or St. John--but almost never see one named for St. Mary. You'll frequently find pastors preaching on Abraham or David, Jesus' distant ancestors, but almost never hear a sermon on Mary, his mother.