Mother’s Day is a great holiday. It brings all kinds of thoughts and affections to mind and heart. My mom recently visited me in the seminary. It was her first trip to Rome. In addition to wanting to see the popular churches and sites of the city, like St. Peter’s and the Trevi Fountain, she also wanted to see places dealing with my life: the seminary and university where I attend classes, places I go for coffee or with friends. Mom wanted to know where I hung out, who my friends were, what I ate, whether the food was any good and what encompassed my life away from home. As we have all learned, one way or another, moms are like that, and only moms can get away with it. Moms are interesting creatures. Who can understand a mother’s love?
Even in the Gospels, we see Mary’s motherly love for Jesus. When he was lost for three days and Mary and Joseph found him in the temple, the twelve-year-old Jesus declared that he must be about his Father’s business. Mary didn’t seem to hear him. Jesus went back home to Nazareth with her that day, and she treasured the event in her heart. Later in Jesus’ life, when he was about thirty and attended a wedding in Cana and the wine ran out, Mary turned to Jesus for a solution. Jesus told her that his hour had not yet come and seemed hesitant to work a miracle. Again, Mary didn’t seem to hear him. She turned and instructed the servants to do whatever Jesus told them. Mary loved her Son and helped his human nature to grow in wisdom and grace for his mission. Like all moms, Mary was an interesting creature. A little pushy, but with a lot of love, she was one-hundred-percent mother to Jesus Christ.
Mary held a special place in the mission of Jesus. From the crib to the Cross, from Pentecost to her Assumption, Mary knew a mother’s love. She stands as an encouragement to all mothers. She continues to love and aid in the work of her Son. Jesus’ love for her is an example to all people of the proper honor due to our own mothers and to the esteemed vocation of motherhood.
The observance of Mother’s Day is a time for children, however old or young, to show appreciation to the women who gave them life. It is a holiday to show gratitude to the women, alive or in the afterlife, who will always be a unique part of their lives and who help to give meaning and direction in this life. It is a time to remember what has been done for us and to simply say thank you.
Jeff Kirby is a seminarian studying in Rome. He is a member of St. Joseph Church in Columbia, S.C.