A special day honoring mothers Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes
Thursday, May. 05, 2011 -- 12:00 AM

Mother’s Day offers us opportunities to show that we are as proud of our mother as she is of us.

Mother’s Day history

Anna Jarvis, (1864-1948) was so proud of her mother that she worked to establish a day on which she and others could honor their mother and all mothers. She is known as the mother of Mother’s Day.

Jarvis supplied carnations for the first Mother’s Day celebration.

Carnations were her mother’s favorite flower. Gradually, it became customary to wear white carnations on Mother’s Day to honor deceased mothers and red carnations to honor living mothers.

On May 9, 1914, following an act of Congress, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day

A mother’s bond

Conceiving, carrying, and giving birth to a human being is as close as any person can come to the act of creation.

A young mother once joyfully shared with me the awe she felt when she first saw, held and nursed her baby. If babies are not held, and loved, they could spend their lives starved for love or even die.

Giving birth begins motherhood which involves sacrificing, loving, serving as role model, and ultimately letting go.

Families are little churches where values are caught and taught. Parents are their children’s primary religious educators.

Role in religious education

In no. 2226 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church it says, “Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years.

“This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith.”

Someone asked a famous Bible scholar what he thought was the best translation of the Bible. He replied, “My mother’s translation.” She translated the Bible into daily acts of love.” My mother did too.

She taught us to value honesty. If Dad left some bolts or nails in his pockets from the shop where he worked, she made sure that he took them back. She led us in the family Rosary and helped us to attend Catholic schools.

Greatest gift is love

Once my mother shared that she wished she could have given us more. I thought, “Mom, we were poor, but you and Dad gave us what money cannot buy. You were good, responsible parents who loved us and cared for us. In our busy society, the greatest gift that a mother can give to her children is to love us. Our mom did.

Memories of our mothers are etched indelibly in our hearts.

When I eat salmon, I remember how Mom took a few scraps of bread and fish and multiplied them into salmon loaf which fed a family with the appetite of multitudes.

In the movie, The Passion, after Jesus falls, Mel Gibson gives us a flashback to Jesus’ childhood when Mary rushed to help him when he fell. When we fell, Dr. Mom kissed the hurt away and her love helped to heal us.

The morning Mom died my brother sat with her. He held her hand and told her that he loved her. Mary, too, was there with her son when he died on the cross for us. Like Mary, a good mother is there in our hour of need.

Proud mothers

In 1872, Julia Ward Howe and other mothers attempted to establish a Mother’s day for peace to protest the killing of their children in war. Good mothers stress the need for peace in families and the world.

A mother once worried when her youngest son might get hurt when he went to a skiing camp. One day he called saying that he had gotten into an accident that resulted in a broken leg. But, thank God, it was not his leg. It belonged to a chair. Good mothers need a sense of humor.

A mother’s prayer

A mother told me, “I am most proud of being a mother. Every day I ask Mary to help me. My grandmothers and mother also helped me to become the mother I am today. I only hope I can pass their wonderful qualities down to my daughters.”

On Mother’s Day we show how proud we are of our mother. We should love and respect her every day, but in a special way on Mother’s Day.

If by grace, she is still alive, perhaps we can make time to call, write, or grace her with the present of our presence.

If she has died, we can pray for her or visit her grave.

Whether she is in time or eternity, we are called to honor her as Christ honored Mary, his mother and our spiritual mother.

On Mother’s Day, we spell Mary and mother the same way: LOVE.

May we enjoy a happy Mother’s Day.

Fr. Don Lange is a pastor emeritus of the Diocese of Madison.