Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Second Sunday after Easter—8 May A.D. 2011

Mothers' Day

[Ordinary of the Mass]
[English Text of Today's Mass]
[Latin Text of Today's Mass]

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.”{1}

   Today is Mothers' Day, so congratulations to all of you who are mothers.  (It is good to be able to say “all of you,” for there was a time when our parish was so small that there was only one mother in the congregation.)  I want to make it clear that my congratulations and my words this morning about motherhood are not restricted to biological mothers, but certainly extend to adoptive mothers, and to all those ladies, whether they be aunts, cousins, big sisters, or even helpful neighbors, who have nurtured our children.  You may have noticed a second collect this morning, offered for all of our deceased mothers and fathers, and my intention is to include all of these other ladies as well.

   Fathers will have their day next month, but today we celebrate the almost undefinable qualities that good women bring to a family and to the upbringing of good sons and daughters.

   Easter was nearly as late this year as it can ever be, so we don't often hear today's Gospel on Mothers' Day.  But it does help to give us some insight into the Christ-like behavior that makes a woman a good mother.  It is, hopefully, rare that a mother has to give up her life for her child, but it does happen.  But even without that extreme analogy to our Lord's death, it doesn't take much to recognize that motherhood is a sacrificial vocation.

   The good mother will always consider the needs of her child before her own.  The child will eat even if she is hungry.  He will have shoes and clothing even if she goes barefoot.  He will have the warm blanket to sleep at night.  He will have the education that she did not get, even if it means giving up the luxuries of life.  If he is threatened, she will become a formidable protectoress.  The history of motherhood is filled with stories of women doing seemingly impossible things to protect their children from harm.  The good mother will have quite a bit in common with the Good Shepherd.  She will be self sacrificing, but not overly indulgent.

   The good mother will also have quite a bit in common with the Blessed Mother of the Good Shepherd.  Her children will be brought up to know and to love the Father in heaven, and to obey His Commandments without question or hesitation.  Her children will learn the virtues of humility, of charity, and of chastity.  To the girl children modesty will be second nature.  And her sons will know that the girls and women around them are to be cherished and protected; never to be taunted nor taken advantage of in any way.  All of her children will understand that they must be industrious but content with their station in life—never mocking the poor or the ignorant—never envying the rich or the famous—always aware that all are God's children, equally loved.

   In his brief on the Holy Family, the saintly Pope Leo XIII wrote that “mothers have an outstanding example of … submission and perfect trust in the most holy Virgin, Mother of God.”{2}  The word “submission” when applied to a wife in the modern world is probably politically incorrect—I guess the same can be said for words like “humility” and “chastity” and “modesty.”  But that is precisely why we, and particularly the mothers amongst us, must routinely practice those virtues.  What is politically incorrect is disturbing only to those who are trying to destroy Western civilization in general and Christendom in particular.  The family is the most basic institution of society—and the mother is at the core of that institution.

   At Fatima our Blessed Mother spoke of Russia, if not converted to the true Faith, spreading her errors.  As an economic system Communism is a total failure—Soviet Russia endured famine after famine and shortage after shortage—but only fools would say that Communism is dead—the errors of Russia continue to spread, as the Virgin Mary predicted they would.  Uniting the “workers of the world” in a “revolution of the proletariat” was a Marxian pipe dream.  But Patrick Buchanan described the new Marxism, the cultural Marxism, envisioned by the theorist Antonio Gramsci:

   Marxists in the West must first change the culture; then power would fall into their laps like ripened fruit. But to change the culture would require a "long march through the institutions"—the arts, cinema, theater, schools, colleges, seminaries, newspapers, magazines, and the new electronic medium, radio. One by one, each had to be captured and converted and politicized into an agency of revolution. Then the people could be slowly educated to understand and even welcome the revolution.

   Gramsci urged his fellow Marxists to form popular fronts with western intellectuals who shared their contempt for Christianity and bourgeois culture and who shaped the minds of the young.{3}

   Buchanan did not mention motherhood or the family in this “long march through the institutions,” perhaps because the destruction of the family is the end and not the means by which Cultural Marxism works.  By controlling the arts, the schools, the seminaries, and the media, the Cultural Marxist has become capable of controlling peoples' thoughts and opinions.  The family can be destroyed by changing the public perception so that the Christ-like and Mary-like virtues I mentioned before would seem old fashioned, out dated, and even odious and offensive.

   If women can be turned from self-sacrificing to self-gratifying the family can be destroyed—and along with the family, all of Western society.

   Now, the burden to resist this must be shared amongst all of us, not just our womenfolk.  We must all strive to be Christ-like and Mary-like, even the men.  And we must be selective about what comes into our minds and into our homes.  Would Jesus and Mary approve of what we read, listen to, and watch on television?  Would they approve of what today passes for Christianity or statesmanship?  Would they approve of our rampant self indulgence and the rush to acquire baubles and gadgets?

   And I appeal to all of you men and boys:  You must hold all of the women around you in respect.  In spite of what you see in the movies and on television, women are not toys to be played with, nor petted, nor molested in any way.  A real man knows that God gave him strength, not to take advantage but to protect. They are all our mothers and our sisters.

   And all of you—be sure that today is celebrated as a day that truly honors motherhood.  If you are fortunate enough to have your Mom among the living, go and see her, or at least spend some time with her on the telephone.  If your Mom is no longer with us, remember her in this Mass, and in your prayers day-in and day-out.  And don't forget all of those ladies, mothers or not, who had a formative influence on your lives.

   Through the intercession of the most holy Mother of God, may He bless us all, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Happy Mothers' Day!


2  Pope Leo XIII, Apostolic letter Néminem fugit, June 14 AD 1892

3  Patrick J. Buchanan, The Death of the West (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002) p. 77



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