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A Larger Meaning of Mother’s Day

Director’s Reflection

Dear Companions on the Journey,

Catholics are given to thinking “analogically,” that is to say, poetically more than literally. With a twinkle in his eye a priest once told me, “The Church is our Mother, Mary is the Mother of the Church; therefore, Mary is our grandmother.” That’s literal talk, not analogical talk!

In that vein, in early March, Pope Francis declared that the Monday after Pentecost (this year, May 21) will be celebrated as the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. His declaration went on to say that “Mary is the mother of the members of Christ, because with charity she cooperated in the rebirth of the faithful into the Church, while the latter says that the birth of the Head is also the birth of the body, thus indicating that Mary is at once Mother of Christ, the Son of God, and mother of the members of his Mystical Body, which is the Church.”

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. Not a religious feast, but certainly a national feast, I was moved by Allison Ciraulo’s quotation in her Motherhood as a Path to Sainthood:

No one will know if a mother does the dishes with her heart raised to God in gratitude, or if she patiently reads to her child who wants to hear the same story over and over again, or if she deals gently with the rebellious teenager. No one will know if she responds with sweetness or bitterness to the inevitable disruptions and perturbations of family life that are decided in a split second’s movement of the heart, but she will know, and she makes her choice, and it is upon these innumerable hidden habits and choices that her growth in holiness hangs.

As we Catholics, who aspire to a strong imitation of Mary our Mother, may ask, Who is our Mother (remember on the Cross, “son, behold your mother”) but also, How are we to be a mother to one another, as each of us is called to make our flesh become Christ’s body for the life of the world.

What do you think?
And let us pray for/with one another.
The Paulist Center