Letter to Women for Mother’s Day

My dear friends,

On this day, the 6th Sunday of Easter, when we celebrate the National Holiday of Mother’s Day, I pray that God would bless abundantly each and every woman of our parish with a deeper sense of God’s personal love for you and a greater awareness of your dignity as women. By the very fact that you are women, you carry within your hearts gifts and capacities for love that are uniquely maternal, and which are, by that very fact, essential for the nurturing and growth of persons within the family and society, and for creating a true civilization of love that allows each person to know their value and become all that they can be. I especially want to thank each of you for your “spiritual motherhood,” for all the ways you help bring to birth the life of Christ within those God has placed in your hearts and in your care.

While Mother’s day can be for many a day of great joy, it can also be a painful day for some women, and it is especially to them that I want to speak today by acknowledging some of the real situations that exist where the gift of motherhood has been a source of sorrow and suffering.

There are first of all mothers who have lost children before or after birth, sometimes very soon after conception, and for others during their childhood or young adult life. Any mother who has lost a child knows how painful this can be. I pray that you will not be afraid to talk about these experiences and to open these places in your hearts of loss and hurt to the healing warmth of God’s love. In His sorrow and tears Jesus shared the grief of every grieving mother, and how much He also wants to be part of the healing. The Church rightly entrust all children who have died to God’s Mercy. Together they form a choir of heavenly voices, thanking God for you, their mothers.

Also very dear to the heart of God are mothers who have not been able to conceive and have children of their own. This is, in its own way, a real loss that must be grieved. While this deprivation can be very painful, I hope you will never forget that you are still mothers, which you show beautifully in your openness to life. Healing is needed here too, and part of the healing will be the opening of one’s life to other ways of living out the vocation of motherhood. How beautiful are the lives of so many women who have adopted other children from here and other countries to raise as their own. And how many women there are who generously pour their maternal love upon all the hungry, aching hearts around them, on those God places along their paths each day – a labor of love that affirms the value and dignity of so many who often feel unwanted and devalued.

Very precious to God are also the many women who have wanted to marry and have children, but through circumstances and events outside their control, though not outside the providence of God, have not been able to realize this desire. I pray for all such women, that you will never think that you or your life is of less value by the fact that you are single. May God help you, especially in moments of weakness, not to marry out of desperation a man who is unworthy of you. Having seen the heartache that often follows such choices, it is so much better for one to wait, than to exchange the single life for a life of misery. When not chosen, the single life can be lonely and difficult at times, but when generously offered to God, the time of waiting for marriage can become very fruitful. Here too, in the single life, women can begin to live out their vocation of motherhood in many beautiful ways. Many of you may already be, without knowing it, the spiritual mother of many children, who are the fruits of your simple, generous, self-giving love. How great will be your joy in heaven when you meet all the people whose lives you have touched and enriched by your maternal love, kindness, and tenderness. Blessed Mother Teresa, soon to be canonized, was rightly called “mother” by all her sisters and by the whole world. As a single, consecrated woman, she helped to conceive and bring to birth, in millions of people all over the world, a rediscovered sense of their dignity, goodness, and self-worth. Her love bore abundant fruits in the souls of aching mankind.

There are also many dear mothers who have lost a spouse through death, or whose lives have been hurt and affected by the brokenness of this world, either by their own brokenness and sin or that of others, and who now face the task of raising their children alone, without the usual help and support of the children’s father. This can be especially difficult when such persons also live far from their families. Some have shared that carrying this burden alone can feel overwhelming at times, and it is easy to get discouraged. I pray that the Church, beginning with me, will always have a special place in her heart for you. May you always find in the parish communities in which you live, arms to embrace you, hands to reach out to you and help you, shoulders generously offered to share your burdens. Admirable and praiseworthy are all the day-to-day sacrifices you make for the good of your children – how pleasing these must be to God, whose love you emulate.

Based upon this broader meaning of motherhood, and the many ways it can be lived out, I want to extend to all women of our parish a Blessed Mother’s Day!  How dear you are, not only to the God who made and redeemed you, but also to us, who bear within us the fruits of your maternal love. May Mary, the Mother of Christ, be near you always, with you in your sorrows and your joys. May she keep you in her mantle of love and protection. And together with her, may it be your greatest joy to labor, even in tears, for the birth of Christ in every heart and in every soul.

God love you,
Fr. Steven

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