Dear Families and Members of the Catholic Academy, Parish School and Catholic High School Communities,
On May 9th, we celebrate the wonderful occasion of Mother’s Day. This is an opportunity to honor all the women in our lives who serve as mother and motherly figures, for their tremendous love, strength, and compassion. As we think about the mothers in our own lives, we are called to remember the mother of Jesus and our Church, Mary. Mary’s role in the life of Christ highlights the qualities that all motherly figures possess and the way these qualities tremendously impact a child’s life.
Mary is known for many blessed qualities and her unwavering faith in God. We see Mary, a young, betrothed virgin, say yes to God, despite her fear of the unknown. She says yes despite knowing that Joseph, her betrothed may turn away from her. Her yes shows not only the unwavering strength of motherhood, but the faith that all mothers possess to say yes.
Mothers are not born at the same moment as the birth of a child. A mother steps into this role the moment she chooses the love of a child. For some mothers, this is the moment they hear a heartbeat or when they first see their child’s face. For other mothers or mother figures, it is the moment they took a child into their arms and said yes to giving their love to this child. Mothers, whether biological, stepmothers, adopted mothers, grandmothers, aunts, all experienced a pivotal moment in saying yes to God’s call to love. There is no greater gift that we give to God than the love we show for another, especially a child.
In the Gospel, we find only four passages that depict Mary speaking, yet her presence in the life of Christ is pivotal. Her quiet strength is displayed throughout Jesus’ early life and this strength undoubtedly made it possible for his ministry to develop. We can recall Mary’s journey to Bethlehem as a mother-to-be, undoubtedly exhausted and uncomfortable, yet willing to do what was necessary. Her quiet strength is seen in Jesus’ birth in the stable and again in their exodus to Egypt while fleeing Herod. A new mother, Mary gathers what few things they have and flees to an unknown land to protect her son.
The strength of a mother has unlimited potential. Mothers and mother figures seem like they can do it all, from getting just the right snack, to knowing which special stuffed animal needs to be found, to giving an exactly right hug to make everything better. A mother’s strength, while often tested, does not waver, because it is founded in the deep love for a child. This strength is what allows a child to grow and thrive. A child knows that they can make their way in the world and have their mother behind them, a quiet strength, a force for good, a guide.
Mary was wholly devoted to loving and caring for Jesus. Her life centered around his birth, his ministry, and continuing that ministry after his death on the cross. Mary’s sacrifice begins in the moment she says yes to God. Some part of her undoubtedly knows that this will be a difficult journey. She does not know what will lie ahead yet, she sets aside her own life and focuses to place her focus on Christ. Mary’s devotion is that of all mothers and mother figures. Mothers constantly make sacrifices for the good of their child, their child’s goals, and their child’s future.
Mothers often set aside their own needs to prioritize the needs of their children. This selflessness embodies the love and compassion of a mother. Mothers do not know what lies ahead, in choosing the journey of motherhood, but they continue to do so with the selflessness that Mary embodies. On Mother’s Day, remember to honor the sacrifices that mothers and mother figures have made, even if it’s only in the form of trading a cold cup of forgotten (sacrificed) coffee for a hot one.
Each child is blessed with a mother figure and sometimes, receives the blessing of several mother figures. Mothers and mother figures are truly a gift of God’s endless love for us. We honor them, especially on Mother’s Day, for their endless love, strength, and compassion. Thank you to all the mothers and mother figures who are changing their child’s life each day, by being a faithful presence. Your example of love serves as a guide to us all.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D.
Superintendent ~ Catholic School Support Services
R.C. Diocese of Brooklyn