May is for Mary, Mothers, And Mother Church

This week, we celebrate Mother’s Day. In the U.S. the annual celebration dates back to 1907 by when it was started by Ann Jarvis in Saint Andrew’s Methodist-Episcopal Church in West Virginia, the first state to make Mother’s Day an official holiday.

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation establishing the first national Mother’s Day; since then, the celebration of Mother’s Day has spread internationally.

Yes, Mother’s Day is a worldwide phenomenon that should be a time to pray for all our mothers, living and deceased, as well as grandmothers and all those who have played a motherly role in our lives.

It is a day for us to thank God for the gift He has given us in the nurturing women in our life. In this year of confusion, pain, and death caused by the global pandemic COVID-19, we are especially grateful to the women who have gone above and beyond to care for all of us in so many different ways.

The month of May also offers us an opportunity to thank God for the gift of Mary, Mother of God, and Mother of the Church.

This May, come back to your mother, our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary. Spend some time in prayer with the Rosary. Focus on the Mysteries of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s life, through the lens of Mary.

Catholic blogger Jennifer Fulwiler beautifully writes:

“The arguments some of my friends make against the veneration of Mary remind me of the arguments some of our astronomer friends made against appreciation of the moon. Like the moon with the sun, Mary is entirely dependent on the Lord for her beauty. She does not create her own light; she merely reflects the light of the Son. And, like the moon, what a beautiful, gleaming reflection it is!

God has positioned her perfectly to bathe us in the Son’s radiance when we can’t seem to find him, to point to him eternally, to act as our guide in darkness.”

In our world of darkness, we need the light of Our Mother. Pray through intercession this month!

Another way that we can recognize mothers in this month is to revive the European custom from the Middle Ages (which still continues in many churches in Europe to this day) of Mothering Sunday.

Mothering Sunday was traditionally held on Laetare Sunday —  the Fourth Sunday of Lent — and was a day for Christians to “go home” to visit their mother, the Church, where they were baptized.

Recall that one of the primary images for the Church is as a Mother. Just like a mother, she gives us birth through the sacrament of Baptism. She feeds us with the Bread of Life in the Eucharist.

She strengthens us and teaches us to be adults in the sacrament of Confirmation. She cares for us and heals our wounds caused by sin in our lives.

What a wonderful thing that would be to do in this month of May! For many, it might not be possible due to distance, but for many others, a trip to see and pray in the church where one was baptized (or where your children were baptized) might be a great blessing.