The Malta Independent 27 May 2019, Monday

Mother’s Day

Saturday, 11 May 2019, 09:19 Last update: about 16 days ago

This year’s Mother’s Day is celebrated on Sunday 12 May. Malta, like the United States, and many other countries around the globe, also celebrates this very special day for Mums which falls on the second Sunday of May.

In other countries, this particular day is celebrated on dates that are religiously meaningful or to historical dates that carry historical significance for the country involved. For instance, in the majority of Arab countries Mother’s Day falls on March 21, the Spring equinox. Whereas, both in the UK and Ireland, Mother’s Day is commemorated on the Fourth Sunday during the Lenten Season. This Sunday is also known as Mothering Sunday.

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The impact of mothers in the lives of their children is undisputably powerful. Thus, mothers greatly influence our lives by the way they brought us up. Furthermore, mothers work unceasingly to do their share in changing our world for the better. Due to their wisdom, sacrifices and generosity mothers promote prosperity, success and notable growth in the communities they raise their children in. Hence, it is all the more wise and appropriate to support all efforts that are principally aimed at making available the resources mothers urgently need so as to live a healthy, happy and flourishing lives. Obviously, not only for themselves but also for the children they brought into the world.

On this special day let us remind ourselves that since mothers play a crucial role in the lives of their children it is essential that investing in education, with the adeguate training to be better mums is fundamental. It is all the more evident that when mothers are healthy and empowered their families, communities and, finally, their very countries stand to benefit. Helping and empowering mothers to address their health care needs together with those of their offspring, including the unborn, is pivotal. In this context every endeavour to curb, as much as possible, infant and maternal mortality, is surely a huge step in the right direction.

Moreover, no matter where mothers are, they all want that their children be secure, happy and healthy. When living their vocation in its utmost mothers are really a strong force for a real transforming and not destructive change. By giving their time, energy or even, for the best of their children, sacrificing a career, by their example mothers ensure that their children are giving on a golden plate the opportunity to succeed and thrive. How much good is done around the world when girls and women, together with boys and men, are given access to their basic rights such as education! Time and again reality shows that when such a right to education is upheld and promoted, especially as regards to girls and women, their communities are destined to develop and flourish.

Pope Francis has some interesting thoughts concerning the role of mothers. For the Holy Father motherhood stands for life, from its conception till its natural end. The reality of motherhood resists and opposes any kind of abortion and infanticide. In an audience with the Italian Movement for Life, of April 11, 2014, he said: “It is necessary to reaffirm our solid opposition to any direct offence against life, especially when innocent and defenseless, and the unborn child in its mother’s womb is the quintessence of innocence. Let us remember the words of Vatican Council II: ‘Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.’”

In the Holy Father’s view, motherhood is a priceless treasure since it is imbued with unconditional love that leads mothers, who are silent heros, to give themselves for their family unconditionally. In that matter mothers are exceptional educators against the current deadly culture of individualism and self-centredness. During his general audience of January 7 2015, Pope Francis said: “To be a mother is a great treasure. Mothers, in their unconditional and sacrificial love for their children, are the antidote to individualism; they are the greatest enemies against war”.

Deeply imbued by their love for their families mothers are prepared for, and, at times, really undergo a “maternal martrydom”. When speaking about the mother’s role within the family during the aforementioned general audience, Pope Francis commented:

How a mother suffers! It is they who testify to the beauty of life. Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero said that mothers experience a ‘maternal martyrdom’. In the homily for the funeral of a priest assassinated by death squads, he said, recalling the Second Vatican Council: ‘We must be ready to die for our faith, even if the Lord does not grant us this honour.... Giving one’s life does not only mean being killed; giving one’s life, having the spirit of a martyr, it is in giving in duty, in silence, in prayer, in honest fulfilment of his duty; in that silence of daily life; giving one’s life little by little. Yes, like it is given by a mother, who without fear and with the simplicity of the maternal martyrdom, conceives a child in her womb, gives birth to him, nurses him, helps them grow and cares for them with affection. She gives her life. That’s martyrdom’. End quote. Yes, being a mother doesn’t only mean bringing a child to the world, but it is also a life choice. What does a mother choose, what is the life choice of a mother? The life choice of a mother is the choice to give life. And this is great, this is beautiful”.

In front of this great choice which countless number of mothers, globally, has lovingly and faithfully undertaken, let us thank God for the gift of motherhood. By keep unleashing this spiritual force of motherhood mothers help both Church and society to be themselves a mother to all those who feel abandoned and sidelined. Mothers remind us always of that unfathomable merciful maternal heart of God who never ceases in wanting to embrace us to His loving heart. No matter our past, ideas and life decisions if we do accept His loving invitation to be in communion with Him we shall never fail to appreciate fully and appropriately the great gift of motherhood which, on Sunday 12 May, we shall be officially celebrating.

A final word to all mothers: Keep blessing and praying for and on your own children because your blessings and prayers do work miracles before God’s Throne. In this way you create the greatest change ever possible in our world because by your intercessory prayer you help your children to open up for God’s trasformational motherhood! Kindly do not neglect your daily rosary and ask Mary to come to your aide to help you be mothers according to God’s motherly heart.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap

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