By Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond, Clarion Herald Commentary
On Mother’s Day, we honor all mothers – biological mothers, adoptive mothers, foster mothers, step-mothers and single mothers. All of these women have a special place in our prayers and in our hearts on Mother’s Day. We also pray for women who wish to share in the vocation of motherhood but for whatever reason cannot do so.
In a particular way, we remember our deceased mothers. Speaking for myself, I often took for granted what my mother did for me and sometimes even her love.
This one day of the year reminds us not only to say thank you to our mothers but also to examine a little more intently what they have done for us. Of course, we should show our gratitude to our mothers for the rest of the year, and not just on one special day!
We also ask the Blessed Virgin Mary – our Mother – to be the model for all mothers. Some people don’t realize that the Blessed Mother’s motherhood came at great cost. She gave birth in a barn. She found out when she was still a teen that Herod was determined to kill all first-born children. When Jesus was a teenager, he separated himself from the family pilgrimage and stayed back to teach in the temple. Mary and Joseph did not understand why he did that. Can you imagine what Mary felt like when she heard her son being ridiculed for his ministry? She walked with him to Calvary and stood with him at the foot of the cross.
Mary is a compassionate and understanding model for all mothers in their joys and challenges.
Sometimes people misunderstand Mary’s role in the Catholic Church. We do not “worship” Mary but give her honor and devotion, and we do worship her son. We ask Mary to bring our prayers to her son, as she did at the wedding feast at Cana when the wine had run out. Mary gives us an example of what it means to be a person of faith. She speaks to us today just as she spoke to the servers at the wedding feast: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5).
As Catholics we believe motherhood is a vocation, a call from God, to nurture, form and love their children. Given some of the values and the fast pace of our world today, it is challenging to be a mother. Many mothers have to work outside the home in order to provide for their child. We admire those who do and thank them for living out that vocation of motherhood in a very busy life.
We also realize that some may find it difficult to celebrate Mother’s Day because of painful experiences with their mothers or a difficult relationship with them. On Mother’s Day, we pray for those children that God will give them peace, compassion and healing of memories.
On Mother’s Day, we also remember those who lost their mother at a very early age, and we remember in a special way those mothers who have had to bury their children.
I thank God for all of those women who have accepted the vocation of motherhood and who have given themselves so generously to live out that vocation. Motherhood is not, in any respect, an easy vocation, but we believe that with Mary’s example and God’s help, it is possible.
Questions for Archbishop Aymond may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.