Every month gives us something special to celebrate, and May is no exception. For us Catholics especially, it is richly ladened with notable tributes. St. Joseph the Worker (May 1st) gives us a running start on a month of celebration that includes the Ascension of Our Lord and ends with the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (May 31st)…a vision of the Holy Family if we’re looking for it. However, for centuries May has been Mary’s month. Many churches and even homes still have May Crownings, with blossoms adorning statues of Mary.
How appropriate it is, then, that Mother’s Day also falls during Mary’s special month of May. While we all rightly honor our own dear mothers this month, who better embodies motherhood than Mary, the Mother of God? Her fully human experiences as a mother covered the entire range of joys, duties, relationships and sufferings. Through it all she was utterly and lovingly submissive to the will of God. Accepting the unimaginable role she would play when the Angel Gabriel announced that God had chosen her to bring His Son into the world was only the beginning. The joy of that birth was nevertheless mitigated by the humble surroundings of Bethlehem’s stable. The loving satisfaction of watching Jesus grow up learning the carpenter’s trade from Joseph surely heightened her motherly instincts, bonding her more intensely to her Son. This undoubtedly escalated the panic she felt when the young boy was lost in Jerusalem for three days.
Once Jesus began His public ministry, the rollercoaster of emotions continued for this ever-so-special mother. The humanity of Mary was wrenched in all directions. What joy and pride she must have felt when, together, they handled the problem of the wedding feast of Cana. And as the stories echoed throughout Galilea and Jerusalem of the wonderful and miraculous deeds Jesus was performing, Mary’s heart was overflowing. As we fast-forward to His final days, we encounter a mother in devastating anguish witnessing the horror of her son’s gruesome crucifixion. Then, three days later…the Resurrection!
Despite the emotional tug-of-war of her life, Mary understood her role in the plan of salvation. “Full of grace,” she accepted that role because it was God’s will. So we acknowledge her not only as the preeminent woman in human history, the Mother of God who is also our mother. Yes, she is our mother because we are all members of the Body of Christ. Mary gave birth to that Body, thus making her our mother. We are speaking of a spiritual relationship, of course, but one that is no less real. She loves us beyond our comprehension and advocates for us constantly.
We are so blessed to have Mary as our Blessed Mother. While we honor her throughout the year and in a special way during the month of May, our hearts are open to her boundless love even more on Mother’s Day. After all, she really is our Mother.