Seeing with our mother’s eyes and heart Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes
Thursday, May. 10, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

Mother’s day is a special holy day when we honor the gift of our mother. This year we celebrate Mother’s Day on May 13.

Attempts to start an American Mother’s Day began after the Civil War as a protest to that war’s carnage by mothers who had lost their sons in that war. This early Mother’s Day for Peace movement was led by Julia Ward Howe, author of “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Anna Jarvis (1864-1948) is recognized as the “mother of Mother’s Day.” She never married or had children, but as a child she heard her mother wish that there was a day to honor all mothers, living and dead.

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation creating Mother’s Day, the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.

Most important person

Cardinal József Mindszenty, a heroic Cold War Communist prisoner, wrote, “The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of building Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not! She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral, a dwelling for the immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby.”

In The Power of a Mother’s Love, Jill Savage wrote, “A mother’s love needs to be given unconditionally to establish trust and a firm foundation of emotional intimacy in a child’s life. If love is withheld, a child will look for it in a million other ways, sometimes throughout their lifetime unless they come to some sort of peace with their past. The emotional foundation mothers give their children is foundational to their life.’’

Mothers often need a sense of humor. Mary Jane Kurtz tells of how difficult it was to get her four children to go to church on time. One Sunday, the children began to squabble and complain. It looked like they would be late to church again when the only seats left were up front where everyone could see you were late. Mary Jane decided to take matters into her hands. She stomped from one room to another, shouting loudly why it was important that they go to church as a family. Suddenly, she noticed all four children huddled together and laughing hilariously.

“What’s so funny?” Mary Jane asked.

Abby, the ring leader replied, “Mom, every time you stomp your foot, smoke comes out of it. It must be the wrath of God. We will get ready!”

Later, Mary Jane discovered that in her anxiety she had put an overload of foot powder in her shoes. Every time she stomped her foot, it looked like smoke coming out of her shoes.” It seemed to work because they weren’t late again!

Meaning and beauty

Mothers add meaning and beauty to our lives. They cook, clean, and teach values. They become nurses when family members get sick. They offer advice on relationships at school or work.

I marvel at the energy of young children and wonder how parents get the energy to raise them. One day, I remarked to the checkout lady of a discount store that it must take much energy to raise children. She smiled and replied,” Yes. it does, but they are worth it.”

Abigail Van Buren, who wrote the popular column “Dear Abby,” was once asked what letter was requested the most for reprinting.

It was, “Dear Abby, I am the most heartbroken person on earth. I always found time to go everywhere except to see my old gray haired mom and dad. They sat at home loving me just the same. Now when I visit their graves, I wonder if God will ever forgive me for the heartaches I must have caused them.’’

This letter can inspire us to thank our mom by writing, calling, or inviting her to dinner. If she has died, we can pray for her or visit her grave. We can pray that God will forgive any sins she has committed and welcome her into Heaven. If she is in Heaven, we can ask her to hold us in prayer during our personal storms.

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