Most every Catholic is familiar with the Blessed Mother, Mary. So much can be said
about her, but if I had to summarize her in just a sentence, it would be to express how
she brings us closer to Jesus.
We do not believe Mary is the fourth member of the Trinity. We also do not worship
Mary. Nor do we believe Mary is equal to God. Rather, we believe that she represents
the potential that is within each of us when we love God and trust in Him, and live a life
of loving service. Mary did this by putting her trust into God’s plan, and giving her family
love day in and day out. And later in life, she again trusted her Son to carry out His
mission, even when it seemed that it was powerless to overcome the forces of hate and
Jesus, from the Cross, says “behold your mother,” and in these words, we believe that
He gives us Mary as a gift to us – to be our mother too. To intercede for us, to inspire us,
to help us become better people. She has many patronages, among them being
mothers who are reflective in many ways of Mary.
Like Mary, our mothers typically aren’t people who seek the limelight. They aren’t
people who ask us to serve them, or love us with an asterisk meaning there’s a “what’s
in it for me” behind their actions. And above all else, in so many ways they show us
what God looks like through how they lead their lives.
In my life, I’ve been blessed by having a mom who has always been there for me, and
who has helped me to see what the faith is all about through how she lived her life. Over
the years, what has stood out to me about her is that she has always been there for me
and for our family. She’d work along with my dad to help support the family. At home,
she helped me realize my talents, from learning how to ride a bike to learning how to do
better at school with the hours she spent helping me to read and learn how to ride
through life too without training wheels. There was the advice over the years too; and
also the patience as like all kids and teens we go through phases we look back on and
say “just what were you thinking?” My mom is one of the most selfless people I’ve ever
But then again, if you are reading it, I likely haven’t met your mom, and my guess is you
might have a similar story.
This weekend, we honor our mother’s on Mother’s Day. But really, mom deserves a bit
more than a once-a- year day for going out to brunch and taking it easy. If we are honest
and could look at our life in it’s entirety, odds are we’ll see some moments in there
where we see how we may have taken our mother for granted, been lazy and let her do
something, or not wanted to listen to her. And truth be told, are our mom’s perfect? Mine
is, but of course most aren’t. But in all seriousness, of course not, for moms are human
and make mistakes too. But if we honestly look at our mothers, we’ll see that for so
many, as the years go by they’ve done so much.
So how can we honor our moms daily?
For one, we can pray for them. Our prayers strengthen one another as we intercede for
them. But prayer also helps us too if you think about it. We are taking the focus off of
ourselves (though intercessory prayer is fine) and thinking about the needs of others.
Moms are pretty good people to focus on.
With that, we can also open our eyes to the needs of our mothers. Moms so often do
things silently, and don’t come out and say things, especially as we get older and move
away. Sure when we are 8 mom may be direct and say “eat your vegetables” or “finish
your homework” but other things moms just do both when we are kids and adults. When
we open our eyes we can take initiative to do more around the house, or to stop in more
often if our mom is aging.
Also, we can remember that our moms are human. What I mean by this is families can
be complicated – as a priest you certainly see this as some people may have had a
strained relationship with their mothers. One of the titles of the Blessed Mother is
“undoer of knots,” in that she helps to undo obstacles in a person’s relationship with
others and God. Maybe your mother has passed on, or you don’t have much contact
with her any more, or maybe you carry some pain in your heart. It’s OK to be hurt or
even angry if we did not get the love we should have gotten from someone. But think of
Jesus on the Cross, as He says “forgive them, they know not what they do.” Holding
onto anger or resentment doesn’t help improve a situation. Bringing it to prayer, talking it
through with God, or perhaps a counselor or even with a mother can help a person find
healing. Letting go takes time, but if we work through the past, we can find that both we
and the person who should have loved us more can find healing.
Finally, remember that life is eternal too. Many of us have lost mothers and
grandmothers. For me, my grandma Pat is not just a collection of pictures. Rather, she
is still alive with God, and that connection is always there. If you’ve lost your mom or a
grandmother, continue to pray for them. Continue to be inspired by them and try to
emulate their positive qualities and live them out. They are praying for you too just as
much as they did while they were on this earth. And through you, people can see them.
To all our moms, thank you for being such amazing, unsung heroes who pass on the
faith and reveal the face of God through how your lead your lives. May God bless you
always – and hopefully you know how much you are loved not just one day a year, but
every day of the year.