“Humanity is built upon mothers.” ~ Pope Francis
Today (Sunday) is Mother’s Day. We all owe our life to our biological mothers. Our mothers provide life in other ways as well. In addition, there are other women who have blessed us with their maternal gifts. As we honor mothers it is important to recognize the unique gift of motherhood in God’ plan for us all.
Motherhood and maternal gifts are so important that when God chose to become one of us, He was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary was not only a biological mother of Jesus but provided the love, nurturing, teaching, and all a child needs from a mother. Recently Pope Francis highlighted the vital roll a mother plays in helping children “look realistically at life’s problems, without getting lost in them.” She helps her children take problems courageously. There are many maternal gifts we all need to grow, mature and navigate life. Mary certainly played this role in the life of Jesus as he developed into a man. That is why, from the Cross, he gave her as a spiritual mother to all of us. God planned for all of us to need a mother and their distinctive gifts.
It is natural for us to first consider the women who raised us on Mother’s Day. We are called to honor them in the fourth commandment and read in Ephesians: “Honor your father and mother. This is the first commandment with a promise, ‘that it may go well for you and that you may have a long life on the earth.’” (Eph. 6:2-3). Honor means to show great respect, appreciation and esteem. This will take different forms throughout life and after our mothers have passed. Today is a day to highlight and express that honor.
Beside our biological mothers, there are other women who show us a mother’s love – stepmothers, grandmothers, aunts, godmothers, Confirmation sponsors, mentors or other women. All women may serve others with their gifts and fulfill a maternal role. The Catholic philosopher and author Alice von Hildebrand once wrote:
“A woman by her very nature is maternal – for every woman, whether … married or unmarried, is called upon to be a biological, psychological or spiritual mother — she knows intuitively that to give, to nurture, to care for others, to suffer with and for them — for maternity implies suffering — is infinitely more valuable in God’s sight than to conquer nations and fly to the moon.”
It is important to recognize and appreciate these women as well. In my life there have been many women, besides my mother, who have shown me a mother’s love. Many continue to support me with their prayers and sacrifices. I thank God for them. I suspect many of you also have such women in your life. Remember them this Mother’s Day.
There are many ways to show honor, gratitude and love to our mothers and the women who have shown us a mother’s love. Certainly we may take her out to eat, buy a gift, or send a card or some flowers. Those are all good ways to show respect and appreciation. This year consider a gift that is the most personal – the gift of yourself. One of the best things we can give our mothers is our time and attention. So if your mother is living, spend some time with her, in person or via a video or phone conversation. If she is de-ceased commit to some extra prayer for her. If she is in heaven she doesn’t need those prayers but they will surely benefit you. Regardless, the gift of some-thing of ourselves is often the best Mother’s Day gift.
God in his goodness has blessed us with life through our biological mother and blessed us in other ways through other women. Mothers are all different and our relationships with them are similarly varied. What is common is they are part of God’s plan for us and His blessings come to us through them. Today let us recognize them and offer them our honor, appreciation and love. Let us also thank God for the gift of our mothers.
The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the love of a Mother. ~ St. Therese of Lisieux
Yours in Christ,