Happy Mother’s Day! I read that the origins of Mother’s Day go back to the early 1900’s when Anna Jarvis held a memorial service to honor her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, who was a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers from the North and South during the Civil War. In the 1970’s Julia Ward Howe, an early advocate for the end of slavery and for women’s right to vote, wrote a Mother’s Day Proclamation calling all mothers to work together for world peace.
I find it interested that there is such a strong connection between Mother’s Day and seeking peace in the world. It is all the more significant that, in our Catholic Tradition, May has come to be know as the month of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Among the titles given to Mary is “Queen of Peace,” “Virgin most Powerful,” “Seat of Wisdom,” “Mirror of Justice,” Cause of our Joy.” We honor Mary for saying yes to the journey of her life. That meant agreeing to be present even to the pain and fear in her journey and resisting the temptation to run away from it. That takes great courage and strength. Sitting with pain and fear is not something we do very well in our world. We are much more attracted to the voices that tell us they will destroy all those people who cause fear in our lives and make things great for us again. We honor Mary because her commitment to saying “yes,” teaches us how to sit with the fears and the pain in our lives and allow them to transform us.
Today we honor the women who have “mothered” us. They are women of courage and they give us life by reminding us of the basic human need to be cared for protected, to be supported and understood. In the world that sees wealth, power and prestige to be our ultimate goals, the life of Mary reminds us that real strength comes from trusting that God uses us what is often seen as weak and insignificant to bring life to our world. Good “mothering” has the same effect in our life. That’s why we all need it so much!