“If at first you don’t succeed, try doing it the way your mother told you to in the beginning,” goes an anonymous quote.
This Sunday, we celebrate the greatest influence in our lives — our mothers.
This edition of The Tablet illustrates many different aspects of a mother’s love and devotion to her children — fom mothers who were an influence on their sons’ decision to enter the priesthood to a woman who single-handedly is raising money to research a rare disease inflicting her son.
Mothers all around the world — including those in war-torn Ukraine and Sudan — who protect and care for their children should be celebrated today and every day.
May is also dedicated to recognizing all the important women in our lives who, in and through their lives, encompass the qualities of motherhood, including moms, grandmothers, stepmoms, mothers-to-be, and all women.
It’s also important to realize that Mother’s Day can be difficult or painful for women who struggle with infertility, the loss of a child or children, or who are estranged from their own mothers.
As the biblical passage from Ephesians 6:1-3 states: “Children, if you want to be wise, listen to your parents and do what they tell you, and the Lord will help you. For the commandment, ‘Honor your father and your mother’ was the first of the Ten Commandments with a promise attached: ‘So that you may prosper and live a long, full life.’
During the month of May, we also have the devotions to Mary, the Mother of Christ.
The origin of the conventional May devotion is still relatively unknown. Some historians identify the 17th century as the earliest instance of the custom of consecrating the month of May to the Blessed Virgin by special observances.
One aspect is certain: the formation of Marian devotion began in Italy. Around 1739, witnesses spoke of a particular form of Marian devotion in May in Verona. In 1747 the Archbishop of Genoa recommended the May devotion as a devotion for the home.
As Pope Benedict XVI reflected in Deus Caritas Est (Dec. 2005), “Outstanding among the saints is Mary, Mother of the Lord and mirror of all holiness. Mary’s greatness consists in the fact that she wants to magnify God, not herself. She is lowly: her only desire is to be the handmaid of the Lord” (cf. Lk 1:38, 48).
Mary, more than anyone, can show us Jesus, lead us to him, and teach us to know and love him “so that we too can become capable of true love and be fountains of living water in the midst of a thirsting world,” Pope Benedict added.
“Mary embraces God’s will and freely chooses to cooperate with God’s grace, thereby fulfilling a crucial role in God’s plan of salvation. Throughout the centuries, the Church has turned to the Blessed Virgin in order to come closer to Christ,” reads the USCCB statement on devotion to Mary.
May God bless all mothers today and every day of their lives.