Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day & the Church

Today our nation takes an opportunity to celebrate our mothers. We put aside a day for Mother's Day. Mother's Day actually did not begin inAmerica, but it began a couple of millennia ago. It began by people coming back to the church where they were baptized. They recognized that the Church was their mother at the baptismal font. So the idea was that they would celebrate a day when they would all go back to their mother church. All the converts would be there together, the ones from over the years, in the place where they were baptized. They would celebrate their faith and life that they had learned and received in that church. It did not take much time for people to say, "If we are going to be able to celebrate the supernatural life that we have through Holy Mother Church, then it is also fitting that on this day we should visit our mothers (our natural mothers) from whom we have natural life. 

That is the way Mother's Day began. First of all, by recognizing the life given to us by God in Baptism and to acknowledge that we wouldn't have the life of Baptism if we didn't have natural life, and that we received from our mothers. So we take the opportunity to think about motherhood on both of those levels.

Today is also the 95th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.  Just as a mother's dignity is connected with her bearing children, Mary's powerful mediation is also due to her being the Mother of God. Mother's love is proverbial. History and everyday life abounds with examples of mothers whose love and concern for their children inspired them to overcome seemingly insurmountable difficulties or endure tremendous hardships. God's love for us is compared to that of a mother. “Can a woman so forget her baby as not to have compassion on the child ofher womb? And if she should forget, I will never forget!” (Is.49:15). Even if the unthinkable would happen – that a mother would forget to love her child – even then God would still love us.

Our Blessed Mother appeared to three little children in Fatima, Portugal, as they were in the fields tending their sheep. Our Lady asked Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta to come to the same place, the Cova da Iria, on the 13th of the month for the next five months at noon. Our Lady's visit filled them with such delight that they could not help but speak of it. They did not know who she was, but simply spoke of a beautiful Lady who asked them to pray the Rosary.

Almost a century later, her message is still relevant. She asked the children to amend their lives and cease offending God, to pray the Rosary daily for world peace, to make reparation for sinners, to offer to God the sacrifice of doing ordinary daily duties well.  Appearing just before the end of World War I, Our Blessed Mother told her children that world peace was possible if people would pray and lead lives pleasing to God. 

As we honor our mothers – Holy Mother Church, Our Blessed Mother, our biological mothers, and those who have mothered us in any way – we are grateful for them and pray that we may always live in a manner that would please them.
Crowning of Our Lady of Fatima during May

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