The Spiritual Character of Mothers’ Day
By Father Gregory Mohrman, O.S.B. ’76
Sunday, May 8, is Mothers’ Day. It is a wonderful custom that has developed in our country over the years to take this day in May to honor all mothers. Like Thanksgiving Day, Fathers’ Day and Memorial Day, it is one of the secular holidays that retains something of a ‘spiritual’ character.
This year, Mothers’ Day coincides with the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord, when we commemorate Christ’s return to the Father. We read in Scripture that his departure filled the disciples with joy, but one can only imagine that there was also some sadness at the parting. We know that Christ’s mother was part of that early apostolic community, and so perhaps she, in particular, may have felt a twinge of sorrow. Just a few days afterwards, at the great event of Pentecost, with the descent of the Holy Spirit, that Communion with her Son was transformed.
It also happens that, this year, Mothers’ Day falls on May 8, the Solemnity of Our Lady, Mother and Mediatrix of Grace, the title of Mary as the patron of the Abbey. This title highlights Mary’s role as both intercessor on our behalf and the channel through which her Son bestows grace upon His Church. In a sense, it is the ultimate expression, for the Church and for us at the Abbey, of what Mothers’ Day should be about — the kind and gentle presence of a mother who loves us, and pleads our cause before the Lord.
Outside the west doors of the Abbey Church is a statue honoring Our Lady, as Mother and Mediatrix of Grace. It shows Mary with her mantle covering (and thus protecting) all manner of people: children, monks, ordinary men and women. It is a beautiful reminder of her role as the spiritual mother of every person.
This Mothers’ Day, let us ask Our Lady’s intercession, that we may always be protected by her guiding hand, that she may lead us to her Son, who ascended to the Father to prepare a way for us, so that we may also dwell forever in his Kingdom with her, and with all the angels and saints.