As children we memorize the Ten Commandments, learning of the fourth commandment: “Honor your father and mother.”
This loving command is second only to the love and devotion we have to God, seen in the first three commandments.
We can see the importance that God places on the family: he upholds irrevocable familial bonds as the foundation of human society.
The Ten Commandments provide an outline of our principles: God, family, society. Just as God provides for us, so, too, do our parents.
Mother’s Day provides an essential day within our culture to affirm our mothers and God’s gift of the human family.
Motherhood is a gift. And just as our mothers have cared for us at all times – whether it was convenient or not – we too should honor them regardless of a day marked on a seasonal calendar. Mother’s Day provides us with a moment to pause, reflect and celebrate the gift that we have been given in our moms.
For nine months, she literally carried us, providing a selfless offering of her body. Throughout our lives, she remains our protector, caregiver and teacher.
So often after visiting friends who have given birth, I’ve heard them share the unexplainable feeling of love as they hold their child in their arms. No greater love was ever imagined than the love between parent and child.
And no greater worry is there for mothers than their children. The burden of all parents is to guide their children on a path of faith and justice, to model the life of Jesus for their children.
Only when we become adults do we really see the impact of that burden, and only when we, ourselves, have become parents will we really feel the heaviness of that worry (and the resulting “worry lines”).
Yet, as always, God has not abandoned us.
In the last moments of his life, Jesus remembered his mother. His last gift to his beloved disciple and to the church was to provide us with Mary, our mother.
“When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, 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 into his home” (John 19: 26-27).
In this tender scene, Jesus gives us his mother to provide a model of humility, faith and love.
Mary’s selfless and obedient “yes” is the same resounding “yes” that our mothers give at the moment of conception, when they, too, are gifted with a child.
As we read the Scriptures, we realize that Jesus’ childhood was molded by the presence of his human family, particularly Mary: “He grew in wisdom and stature” (Luke 2:52).
And just like our own mothers, Mary was ever-present: she was present at the Incarnation, birth, Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding at Cana, crucifixion, death and resurrection.
In all of those moments that our faith celebrates, Mary was there, surrendering her entire earthly life for her love of God and for her son. Her fiat – her yes – emphasizes the selfless and sacrificial love that we give to God and that mothers give to their own children.
And so, on this Mother’s Day, as we honor and celebrate our own mothers who have been present for own special moments, we should also reflect on how, like Mary, their love is transformative, inspiring and ever-present.
Heather Bozant Witcher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.