Fr. Ed Dougherty, M.M., The Christophers’ Board of Directors
In Praise of Mothers
May 6, 2018
It’s fitting that we celebrate Mother’s Day during May, a month that we also dedicate to the Blessed
Virgin Mary. Knowing a good mother opens a window onto a spiritual relationship with Mary. And for
those who have not been blessed with that earthly relationship, Mary can fill the void when our hearts
are open to her tender guidance.
During this month, parishes and schools around the world will honor Mary with crowning
ceremonies, processions, and prayers all aimed at calling to mind her holiness. Similarly, on Mother’s
Day, we will honor mothers for the sacrifices they make in bringing new life into the world and nurturing
that life with love and devotion.
Mary both embodies the ideals of motherhood and serves as a role model for all mothers. When the angel Gabriel announced to her that she would conceive the Son of God, her response was, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” What a profound moment of acceptance of God’s will and a beautiful example of the openness to life the Church asks of all married couples as they embark on their lives together.
Every mother is representative of Mary in the moment she says “yes” to the new life entrusted to her care. When we see single mothers or mothers who we think might be facing a crisis pregnancy due to poverty or other circumstances, we should recall the Blessed Mother in the early days of her pregnancy. She stood isolated, awaiting Joseph’s “yes” and fearful of the scorn of society. The “yes” of mothers in crisis pregnancies echoes the courage of Mary’s “yes” in a way that should gain the respect of all people of faith.
In Jesus’ youth, Mary served as protector, as seen in the “Finding in the Temple,” when she frantically sought him out after he had gone missing on a journey. How often have our own mothers acted as protectors, keeping us safe and guiding us down the right path?
Mary was present for Christ’s first miracle, acting as intercessor by approaching him with the concern that they had run out of wine at the wedding at Cana. Isn’t that so like our earthly mothers, to be there for all of our great accomplishments and to be the one who can call upon us to use our talents for the good of all?
And Mary was one of the few people to stand by Christ in His darkest hour, when He hung on the cross. Think of all of the most difficult moments in life, such as illnesses we have faced, mistakes we have made, and moments when we have been accused, falsely or otherwise. Mothers are the first to forgive, to lend a helping hand, to point us in the right direction when we go astray.
As Mary stood beside John at the foot of the cross, Christ said to her, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to John, “Behold, your mother!” Christ extends this invitation of spiritual adoption to all people, calling us to cultivate a relationship with the Blessed Mother. When we answer that call, we will find our relationship with our own mothers deepening in respect and love.
So remember Mary this month, and on Mother’s Day let’s also recognize how much our earthly mothers embody the grace of the Blessed Mother, who guides their actions and inspires their loving service to the world around them.
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