Today is Mothers Day, and we wish all of you who are mothers a happy day. You have the good fortune of sharing in the same vocation as Mary, the Mother of God, and sharing in the great esteem in which we hold her throughout this month of May. And, like Mary who is venerated and loved throughout the year, you may be assured of our continuous admiration from season to season.
It takes no great intellect to appreciate the importance of a mother's vocation. A man and a woman cooperate with God to bring a human life into existence -- body and soul. But, from that very moment, the responsibility placed almost exclusively on the mother is awe inspiring. Probably no man -- no male -- among us can understand the selfless labor of carrying another human being around within one's body for three-quarters of a year -- of giving one's self over to the physical and emotional changes necessary to sustain a new life -- of bearing up under the increasing pphysical difficulty and potential danger as the child is brought to term. And only the most insensitive of us could possibly believe that that a mother's job is completed at the end of those nine months; that there is not a constant struggle to see that her child is protected from harm and given all of the wisdom she can possibly impart. We see that the vocation of an adoptive mother is equally important in this right, and certainly courageous and un-selfish for so many reasons. Everybody has heard a story or two about mothers doing almost super-human things to protect their children.
In the case of Mary, the Church tells us that she "the Holy Ghost came upon her," and she was "overshadowed by the power of the Most High"1 and that "the Holy to be born of her would be called the Son of God." And then, "while the glory of her virginity remained, she brought forth to the world the eternal light, Jesus Christ our Lord."2 For three-quarters of a year she carried the One who was both true God and true man, so that by His becoming flesh of her flesh and bone of her bone, mankind could boast of the God-man who would redeem us from the sin of Adam.
That God chose this very human method of coming into the world is intended to instruct us. Remember that so much of what our Lord did was to teach by example; His own example, and that of His Blessed Virgin Mother. Humility, chastity, obedience, the acceptance of one's state in life no matter what it might be -- all of these things are taught by the example of Jesus and Mary.
One might even be tempted to think that their example was meant for those of us in the 21st century. While there might seem to be an element of pride in such a supposition, it is certainly reasonable to recognize that the lessons of our Faith are all the more important in times when there is a general turning away from God. What society could stand to benefit from the example of Jesus and Mary more than one that is barely continuing itself in childbirth; that sees the noble vocation of motherhood as some sort of "patriarchal enslavement"; and proposes more and more to have the few remaining children raised by the government?
The Hallmark Company may not have considered it, but at least some of our time today ought to be spent in prayer to the Mother of God to intercede in these difficult times for all of those women who are called to share her vocation. Likewise, ask Mary to enlighten the men in the lives of those women -- wouldn't it be marvelous if they could all be loved as Mary was loved by Joseph?
But this is a happy and a holy day, so we really ought to concentrate more on the glories of Mary, and on the glory shared by so many good mothers. This is a day for spending with our mother if she is alive, or at least for speaking with her on the phone if it is not possible to be together -- and a day for praying for her, whether she is among the living or among the dead. It is a day for reminding her just how much we admire her for her Mary-like vocation -- a day for trying to boost her spirits with the knowledge that those months and years she lavished on us were worthwhile and appreciated.
Remember, finally, that Mary is our Mother. By virtue of her Divine Motherhood we have been made able to become adopted sons and daughters of God. Because she gave her consent and was "overshadowed by the Holy Ghost" it is possible to call upon God as Father -- but only if we regard Mary as our Mother.
Happy mothers day! Don't forget to call mom and say a prayer for her!
1. Luke i: 26-38
Thou hast commanded us, O Lord, to honor our father and mother. In Thy kindness, have mercy on the souls of my father and my mother, forgive them their sins, and grant that I may see them again in the joy of the eternal life. This we ask ...
Receive, O Lord, we beseech Thee, the sacrifice which I offer up to Thee on behalf of the souls of my father and mother; grant them everlasting joy in the land of the living, and in company with them let me share in the happiness of the saints.
We beseech Thee, O Lord, that this heavenly sacrament of which we have partaken, may win rest and light everlasting for the souls of my father and mother, and by means of it I may be crowned with them by Thy grace for evermore.