Mothers are God’s unique gift to us Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes

I treasure the time when I treated my mother to lunch at Sunshine restaurant in Dubuque, Iowa.

She went around the crowded restaurant pointing to me and proudly telling complete strangers, "That's my son. He is a priest."

Being shy, this made me somewhat nervous. "What if he or she is not a Catholic or is an atheist?" I wondered.

When I shared this feeling with friends at the Catholic Center, they replied, "Oh Father, she was just showing how proud she is of you!" Once a mother, always a mother.

Appreciating mothers

George Washington, our first president, appreciated his mother almost as much as she appreciated him.

He exclaimed "My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her."

During his January 7, 2015, general audience, Pope Francis said, "Mothers, in their unconditional, sacrificial love for their children, are the antidote to individualism; they are war's greatest enemies. Their contributions to society, their daily sacrifices, and their aspirations are not always properly appreciated."

A Bible student asked a famous Bible scholar what in his judgment was the best translation of the Bible? He replied, "My mother's translation."

Surprised, the student exclaimed, "I didn't know your mother was a Bible scholar."

"She wasn't," the Bible scholar replied," but she translated the Bible into daily life."

Abraham Lincoln said that his mother's prayers followed him where ever he went.

So did my mother's prayers.

Every night, she knelt and prayed. She made sure that we prayed before and after meals.

I'm convinced that her prayers helped me to persevere in my priesthood.

I'm sure she is praying for me from heaven.

A mother told me, "I'm most proud of being a mother. My grandmothers and mother helped me become who I am today. I pray that I can be a good mother like them and pass on their wonderful qualities to my children." I think that she has.

The value of mothers

Mothers cook, clean, and teach values.

They become nurses when family members get sick.

They enrich their children and add meaning and beauty to their lives.

They offer advice on relationships, trouble at school or work.

In The Power of a Mother's Love, Jill Savage wrote, "A mother's love needs to be given unconditionally to establish trust and a firm foundation of emotional intimacy in a child's life."

If love is withheld, a child will look for it in a million other ways, sometimes throughout their lifetime unless they come to some sort of peace with their past.

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.

Fr. Charles Miller stated that mothers come closest to giving us their body and blood.

She loaned us her body as our first home for nine or fewer months. She nourished us with her milk and bonded with us.

What mothers come closest to doing but cannot do, Christ does.

He feeds us with his body and blood.

This is why family Communion on Mother's Day is important.

Participating in Mass as a family offers graced opportunities for catechesis of children and parents.

The heart of a mother

In 2007, the Congregation of the Clergy published a document entitled Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Maternity.

In this document we read, Pope St. Pius X rightfully confirms his experience that, "Every vocation to the priesthood comes from the heart of God, but it goes through the heart of a mother!"

Pius X does not limit motherhood to those who are physical mothers, but he extends that meaning to all women who commit their lives to holiness and to prayer for priests. Children, mothers, widows, Religious Sisters, all can be spiritual mothers.

The morning Mom died my brother sat with her.

He held her hand and told her that he loved her. Mary, too, was there with her son when he died on the cross for us.

As a priest I am grateful for the hard work and dedication of the women who encouraged me and supported me in my ministry as Martha, Mary, and other women supported Jesus in his ministry.

On Mother's Day, we honor Mary who gave Jesus a human nature.

We honor her during May by praying the Rosary, by May crowning, and other devotions.

Jesus made Mary as the first and greatest disciple who intercedes for us in heaven.

On Mother's Day and every day, let us imitate Mary as she imitated Christ.

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