Mothers are often under-appreciated Print E-mail
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes
Thursday, May. 11, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

On January 7, 2015, during his general audience, Pope Francis lamented how mothers are often under-appreciated.

The pope stated, "To be a mother is a great treasure. Mothers, in their unconditional, sacrificial love for their children, are the antidote to individualism. They are the greatest enemies against war."

Close to act of creation

Someone wrote that a mother carries her child in her womb for nine months and in her heart forever. Conceiving, carrying, and giving birth to a human being is as close as any person can come to the act of creation.

Years ago in a classic Life magazine article entitled "A Woman on Her Way to a Miracle," Eleanor Graves wrote, ''Whatever feelings pregnancy may arouse -- delight, indifference, resignation, horror -- the idea of creating a new human being is awesome!

"Pregnancy is surely the most creative thing you will ever do, even if done inadvertently. It is hard to believe that at some appointed hour, you will divide like some ancient cell and suddenly it won't be you any longer but you and some other being to whom you will be tied by nerves, tissue, and chemistry all your life.

"This being is already within you, shouting in a sometimes deafening voice, look out, stand back, here comes a whole new person. You are its lifeline and nourishment. Only you can make sure that its bones are strong and its eyes are clear. How good you must be, how well behaved, how faithful to this being."

Overwhelming experience

After giving birth, mothers continue to nurture, sacrifice, love, and ultimately let go of her child or children.

On March 23, according to the Huffington Post, Duchess Kate Middleton, wife of Prince William said, "Nothing can prepare you for the overwhelming experience of what it means to become a mother. It is full of complex emotions of joy, exhaustion, love, and worry all mixed together.

"Your fundamental identity changes overnight. You go from thinking of yourself as primarily an individual, to suddenly being a mother, first and foremost."

The Duchess and Prince William are parents of three-year-old George and one-year-old Charlotte.

Mother's example

St. Jean Vianney, patron saint of priests, said, "Virtues go easily from mothers into their children's hearts. Children often willingly do what they see being done." He added that his mother created an atmosphere of prayer that she almost breathed in her family's life.

My mother gathered our family like a hen gathers her chicks and led the family Rosary during October, Lent, and May. She made sure that we prayed our morning, evening, and meal prayers. Missing Mass on Sundays and holy days was unthinkable. She and Dad sacrificed to send us six children to Catholic schools, which built upon the foundation they laid at home.

My penny-wise mother rarely called us, her children, long-distance when we became adults. However, if she learned that we were sick, she called three or four times a day until she was sure we were okay. Once a mother, always a mother!

Honoring mothers

This year we Americans celebrate Mother's Day on May 14. Most of us honor our mother every day, but Mother's Day gives us opportunities to honor her in special ways.

We can write, call, invite her to dinner, or show our appreciation in other ways. If our mother has died, we can pray for her or visit her grave. If she is in heaven, we can ask her to hold us in prayer during our personal storms as my mother did.

Mother's Day is a graced time to receive Communion as a family. If our mother cannot participate, we can offer our Communion at Mass for her.

Mothers are the heart of the home. Whether she is in time or eternity, may she enjoy a happy Mother's Day.

Let's appreciate our mothers now and forever as Jesus did!


Fr. Donald Lange is a pastor emeritus in the Diocese of Madison.