A mother leaves indelible marks of love on our heart Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes
Thursday, May. 02, 2013 -- 12:00 AM

Seeing with Jesus' Eyes, a column by Fr. Donald Lange

Enrico Caruso, the great tenor, grew up in poverty. His mother sacrificed to pay for his first singing lesson. However, his voice teacher told him, “You can’t sing. Your voice sounds like the wind in the shutters.”

Enrico walked home discouraged, with shaky steps and tearful eyes. “Mamma” he sobbed, “My teacher said that I can’t sing! I want to quit singing lessons.”

Enrico’s mother hugged him and said, “My son, you’ve got a great voice. Don’t give up. Someday you’ll be a great singer!

“I’ll make every sacrifice to pay for your voice lessons. Now go back and show your teacher that you can sing.” His mother’s encouragement helped him persevere and become known as the “King of Tenors!”

When Carouso became famous, he carried his mother’s portrait with him where ever he performed. He asked her prayers before every performance. Her encouraging words lived in his heart and inspired him to greatness.

His mother’s influence upon him reminds us that a good mother can leave indelible marks of love on our heart.

She dries our tears and calms our fears. She affirms, guides, and shares her faith and values. We should thank her every day; but Mother’s Day gives us opportunities to thank her in special ways.

Honoring mothers

Thanks to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, in 1914 Mother’s Day was declared a national holiday. She introduced the custom of wearing a carnation on Mother’s Day. Wearing a white carnation honors a deceased mother. Wearing a pink or red carnation honors a living mother.

A young man told me, “My mother isn’t perfect. But she’s the only mother I’ll ever have and I love her. Her sense of humor helps her to be patient with me.” Healthy humor helps parents relieve some of the stress of raising children.

Prayer, patience, love

A mother told me that she believes that prayer, patience, love, listening, and forgiveness are virtues needed to be a good mother.

Columnist Kate Wicker wrote that she learned that she couldn’t expect to be such a mother by simply glancing at a crucifix. Consequently she makes time to pray for the grace to be a responsible mother.

Good Christian mothers show us that “the family that prays together stays together.”

A Dominican Sister said that when she was a girl, their family lived in the country. The ride to church was long. Her father drove slowly so her mother could lead the family Rosary. Her mother and father’s faith probably influenced her decision to answer God’s call to become a Sister.

Every night my mother knelt and said her prayers so fervently that it seemed as if she were alone in the inner room of prayer that Jesus spoke of in Scripture.

Like a hen gathers her chicks, she also gathered us for the family Rosary during Lent, October, and other times. She encouraged us children to pray to discover our vocation. I believe that her prayers have helped me to persevere in my priestly vocation.

My penny-wise mother rarely called us children long-distance when we became adults, unless something happened. However, if she learned that we weren’t feeling well, she called three or four times a day until she was sure we were okay. Once a mother, always a mother.

Mary, our spiritual mother

On Mother’s Day we can also honor Mary, our spiritual mother.

In one of the most tender scenes in Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ, Mary recalls Jesus as a little boy, falling and calling for his mother. Moved by that memory, Mary runs to Jesus weighed down by the cross and comforts him. Mary mirrors the pain of a mother who loses the child she carried in her womb

We honor Mary during May by praying the Rosary, May Crownings, and other devotions.

On the cross Jesus commissioned Mary as mother of the Church. Mary is the first and greatest disciple. Nothing pleases her more than when we honor her son. Mary inspires us to sing the song of Jesus by living a Christ-like life as she did.

Being thankful for moms

In this year of faith, like Jesus, let us be thankful for our mother.

If she is living, we can write, call, invite her to dinner, or thank her in other ways. If she has died, we can pray for her or visit her grave. If she is in Heaven, we can ask her to hold us in prayer during our personal storms. We can make her proud by being a Christ-like son or daughter.

Since the word Eucharist means thanksgiving, Mother’s Day is a graced time to attend Mass, thank God for the gift of our mother, and receive Communion as a family. We can offer our Communion at Mass for her.

Mothers are the heart of the home. At her best she mirrors Mary. She helps to make a house a home. She is God’s graced love poem. Where would we be without her? Whether she is in time or eternity, let us help her enjoy a happy Mother’s Day.


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