How do you spell love? M-o-t-h-e-r Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes
Thursday, May. 05, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

In Isaiah 49:15 Isaiah asks "Can a mother forget her baby, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you."

This passage praises mothers as symbols of amazing compassion, never forgetting their beloved children. Pope Francis said that a mother is concerned "above all about the health of her children. She cares for them with great and tender love the way Mary, our spiritual, heavenly mother, cares for us."

History of Mother's Day

Early American attempts to start a Mother's Day began after the Civil War, as a protest to that war's carnage, by women who had lost their sons. This early Mother's Day for peace movement was led by Julia Ward Howe, author of "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

In 1908 Anna Jarvis is credited with starting Mother's Day as we know it. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation creating Mother's Day, the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers. This year we celebrate Mother's Day on May 8.

Domestic Church

The Church teaches that each Catholic family is called to be a domestic Church, where parents by their words and deeds teach their children Christian values.

Abraham Lincoln said, "I remember my mother's prayers. They have always followed me and clung to me all my life."

St. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars and patron saint of priests, spoke often of his relationship with his mother. He told his parishioners that virtue passes from the heart of a mother to the heart of her children  He added that his mother created an atmosphere of prayer that she almost breathed into her family's life.

Mothers teach us to pray

Mothers teach us to pray by praying. My mother made sure that we prayed before and after meals. She encouraged us, her children, to pray to discover our vocation. Her prayers helped me to persevere in my vocation.

Our mother taught us to love by loving us. Kate Samperi wrote, "Before becoming a mother, I had a hundred theories on how to raise children. Now I have seven children and only one theory: 'Love them, especially when they least deserve to be loved.'"

A mother's love

Rev. Melvin Newland tells of Solomon Rosenberg, his wife, their two sons, and his mother and father who were arrested and sent to a Nazi concentration labor camp.

The rules were simple. As long as you could work, you were allowed to live. When you became too weak to work, you were exterminated. These were cruel days and human flesh was cheap!

Solomon watched his mother and father marched off to their deaths. He knew that the next victim would be David, his youngest son, who was a frail child.

Every evening Rosenberg returned to the barracks after hours of labor and searched for the faces of his family. When he found them, they huddled together, embraced each another, and thanked God for another day of life.

One day he came back and didn't see those familiar faces. He finally discovered Joshua, his oldest son, huddled in a corner, weeping and praying. He said, "Josh, tell me it's not true!" Joshua replied, "It's true. Today David was not strong enough to do his work. So they came for him."

"But where's your mother?" asked Mr. Rosenberg. "Oh Poppa, "he replied. "When they came for David, he was afraid and he cried. Momma told him, 'David, There's nothing to be afraid of,' and she took his hand and went with him."

"Can a mother forget her baby?" David's mother answered "Never." She gave David the gift of life; then she gave her life to be with him in his hour of need.

How do you spell love? M-o-t-h-e-r!

Wherever our mother is, let's pray that she enjoys a happy Mother's Day!


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