The Role of Mothers in The Lives of Priests

There are few influences greater in the choice of a vocation to the priestly life than a priest’s mother. She is really the very first “face of God” whom he encounters in his life. The mother is the one who has carried him in her own womb, cared for him as a child, encouraged him as a boy, and strengthened him as a man.

The bond between mother and son has many biblical references as the Virgin Mary raised Jesus to become the Son of God.

There are some medieval theological texts which suggest that the very first altar, on which Our Lord Jesus Christ offered his sacrifice, was not at the Last Supper but rather the lap of his Blessed and Immaculate Virgin Mother, Mary, through the mystery of the kenosis (the emptying out of self by the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, God the Son, the Divine Word) and the mystery of the Incarnation (the enfleshment of the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, God the Son, the Divine Word).

This is also perfectly demonstrated in the Pieta, that sacred image from Michelangelo at Saint Peter’s Basilica, when the Blessed Virgin Mother, Our Lady of Sorrows, holds the Body of her Son, the very Son of God, the one and true High Priest, in her lap again, this time as a grown man.

The Blessed Mother, the Mother of the Church, has her Immaculate Heart pierced with her seven sorrows, while at the very same time, being Our Lady of Hope, realizing that, despite her very real pain, she knows that she will see her Son, the flesh of her flesh, rise again on the Third Day, gloriously, just as he had promised.

Yes, it is the mother of the priest, who, in a special way, carries him through life, and, if he is blessed enough to do so, it is the priest who assists in the care of his own sick and elderly mother.

The mother of the priest offers the first and best formation. She demonstrates to the priest what it means to be selfless; she shows the priests what it means to sacrifice; she teaches the priest what it means to love.

This is a gift that many mothers can give their sons as we pray for more happy, healthy, holy vocations to the priesthood.

These maternal bonds are also on display today with the work of The Bridge to Life in helping expectant mothers deal with modern problems of food, shelter, and clothing.

The organization’s Baby Shower — held with the generous support of the Columbiettes, the ladies auxiliary of the Knights of Columbus Don Bosco Council No. 4960 in Williamsburg — demonstrates how mothers never truly stop supporting and caring for their children and other people’s children.

So on this Mother’s Day weekend, The Tablet wishes all mothers the most wonderful day. Know in your heart that you are loved each and every day of the year just as the Virgin Mary was loved by her Son.