Honoring Our Mothers

A teacher asked her class a question: "Suppose your mother baked a pie and there were five of you-- two parents and three children. What part of the pie would you get?" Quickly a little boy shot up his hand to answer, and then confidently responded, "One fourth.

"No. You didn’t understand the question, or you don’t know your fractions," said the teacher. "Remember, there are five of you." "Yes, I realize that,” said the boy, "But you don't know my mother. My mom would say she didn't want any pie so that everyone else could have more.”

How many of us have mothers like this? I know that I grew up with a mother who possessed such a sacrificial and giving spirit, and I have a wife who expresses the same spirit with my children, and with many others!

If one phrase summarizes many mothers, it would be “sacrificial love.” She is the one who is always ready to give of her time and her very self, and often she gives in quiet, humble ways. She is the one who will get up early and be the last one to sleep making sure that everything is in order. She is the one who gets up at all hours of the night taking care of a sick child, making sure that their child is feeling the loving presence of their mother. She may be a stay at home mom who works more than many others with a profession, or she may be a working mom, who works her 40 hours a week only to come home and then continue her second job which is even more demanding. Moms are people who constantly give of themselves, often without thinking of themselves.

Moms are more often the rock of faith in the families. They are the ones who instill the Christian faith in their children, reading them Bible stories, teaching them the traditions of our faith, taking them to Church, and modeling for them the Christian life. I guess this is why the Spanish proverb says, An ounce of a mother is worth a ton of priest.” Of course, this proverb doesn’t downplay the role of a priest, but highlights the daily and continual influence that a Christian mother can have!

In many ways, moms epitomize the true Christian spirit and ideal which we all should strive for in our lives – unconditional love, sacrificial giving, humble service, and rock solid faith

Maybe no influence on earth can impact a child in the same way! Abraham Lincoln confessed, “I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother." George Washington, noted, "My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her."

How true to acknowledge the blessing that mothers can have upon their children. The mother-infant bond is an intense relationship of unparalleled human affection – the foundation of a child's emotional, spiritual and physical survival. Mothers sacrificially and lovingly give of themselves from the moment that a child enters into their lives! Mothers will lose countless hours of sleep, sacrifice their time, their schedules and their ambitions, all for the purpose of incarnating love for another being and helping mold the likeness of God into them. Throughout their lives, mothers act as nurses, doctors, psychologists, and counselors. Mothers serve as teachers, guides, disciplinarians, and coaches. Mothers act as chefs, cleaning ladies, and chauffeurs. Mothers develop personalities, cultivate attitudes, nourish faith, and build up spirits. Mothers constantly give, and give, and then give even more! They don’t think of themselves too often, but willingly place the needs of others before their own.

And motherhood doesn’t end with childhood or adolescence but continues throughout one’s life. Mothers sacrificially and willingly offer constant love and care, never-ending prayer and guidance, limitless forgiveness and concern, no matter how their children respond and no matter how old their children become. In many ways, ideal motherhood strives to mirror the divine and unfathomable love and grace that God showers upon us all.

This is why a Jewish proverb so beautifully states, “God could not be everywhere, and therefore He made mothers.”

Of course, by lifting up and honoring the precious mothers in our lives, we should not only remember our biological mothers, but we should celebrate all the women who reflect the purest of motherly virtues. Remember, motherhood does not simply mean to bear children. There are some women who bear children, yet default on their responsibility of motherhood. While there are other women who never bear children, yet who truly offer motherly compassion, love, encouragement, faith, care, hope, and inspiration to those around them. I can look around at our Church Family and see many special women who so beautifully exemplified the blessings of motherhood.

Let us also remember the role and witness of the most beloved mother of all history – the Virgin Mary. She is a unique mother – giving birth in a miraculous way, trying in the best manner she could to raise the Christ-child according to God’s will, and yet always realizing that her child was not her own, but One who belonged to the entire world.

She is the ultimate example of a mother whose faithful, selfless, tenderhearted, compassionate, loving, giving, patient, concern reached out far beyond her own Son and stretches out to all peoples of the world. She is the mother of orphans and downtrodden, the mother of the needy and the helpless, the mother of the hopeless and the defenseless. She is a mother ready to intercede and help everyone who calls upon her. She reflects best the noble spirit of motherhood.

We can see in Christian motherhood unconditional love, unconquerable hope, and undying faith! No matter what children do, or how far they stray from the straight and narrow path, the mother will continue to love them, never lose hope in them, and always place their faith in them. How many of our mothers realize that this is the greatest legacy one can leave our children – faith, hope and love.

Let me conclude with another children’s story. One day, a little boy forgot his lines in a Sunday school play. His mother was in the front row trying to prompt him with the right words. She gestured and formed the words silently with her lips, but it did not help. Her son's memory was blank. He couldn’t remember what to say. Finally, his mom leaned forward and whispered the cue, "I am the light of the world." The child seemed to suddenly remember his lines, and with great expression stated with loud clear voice, "My mother is the light of the world."

On this Mother’s Day, let us lift up and honor all our mothers who have been “the light of the world” in our lives!


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