Archbishop Aquila’s prayer intention for May is “for a deep love and respect for mothers and the gift of life they give to their children.”
May is known by many as the month of Mary, and in May also we celebrate Mother’s Day.
“So, they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds” (Lk 2:16-18).
We were all born — and borne, as it were — into this world through a mother. The name mother is universal — every human being has one. The mother is so special, so great, so admirable, so unique and irreplaceable that even God himself desired to come into this world through a mother: The Virgin Mary. What the angels of heaven announced to the shepherds of Bethlehem was the birth of a Child who turned out to be God Himself. That’s why they went in haste, to tell Mary and Joseph with deep love and respect the message that had been told to them about this child.
When the shepherds saw the mother, the Child and Joseph, imagine the love and respect with which they beheld them. Surely, they were amazed, which is why they went to share what they had seen with everyone, and those who listened to them also wondered. We can learn much from these pastors in this passage of the Gospel: to hasten to contemplate the miracle of a new life, the embodiment of love in the flesh, and the admiration and respect for the mother from her husband, St. Joseph.
Mary is the mother of God, but also of all humanity. The Church teaches that Mary is the new Eve, “Eve” meaning mother of all the living. Therefore, Mary as the new Eve means that she is the mother of all of us. Each earthly mother reflects Mary, who said “yes” to life and “yes” to God’s plan. This gives us all the more reason to revel in each mother with deep respect and love. Like the shepherds of Bethlehem, we, too, must marvel at the birth of a new life and the gift of motherhood because it is through a mother that we all have come into this world. It is so genuine, the role of a mother, and it lasts a lifetime. A mother’s love is priceless. On Mother’s Day, it is common to give to our mother flowers, material gifts, take her out to eat at a restaurant, all of which are kind gestures! However, if we don’t show our mothers respect and deep love, these gestures are meaningless.
There are mothers of all different ages and different realities, and each have received the gift of motherhood in their own way; being a mother is not a right but a grace and a mystery that only God knows. We also remember in a particular way those women who desire so greatly to be mothers, but for whatever reason, is not possible for them. Many women in such circumstances open their hearts wide and become mothers by adopting children, and these mothers deserve the utmost love, respect and support.
In these challenging times, the image of the mother is being trivialized in many places and in many ways, the mother is no longer given the respect and love she deserves. Even the title of “mother” runs the risk of being eliminated by the relativist cultures in society.
It is for these reasons and more that Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila sees the urgency of praying in this month of May for a deep love and respect for all earthly mothers, and for the gift of life that they bring to this world in their children — for saying “yes” to the plan of God and for their openness to life, especially for our particular mothers. Finally, let us turn in prayer for this intention to Mary, our Holy Mother, and thank her for the gift of life in her son Jesus Christ, the source of deep love for us.