Mary and Mother. In my bulletin message last week, I acknowledged the
fascinating lexical connection between Mary and May. I pointed out the link
between Mary without the letter "r" and May. "R" from Mary stands for rosary, a genuinely Marian devotional prayer we pray with greater intensity and frequency in May to honor the Blessed Mother of God- the Theotokos. For centuries, Catholics have designated May as the month of Mary. One of the significant features of May is the blooming of spring flowers. We associate roses with the rosary, praying a Hail Mary on one bead at a time. The symbolic association of flowers with Mary was demonstrated in our children's procession into the church last Sunday with flowers, culminating in Mary's crowning. Our roses for Mary are signs of
honor-hyperdulia, not worship-latria. We honor Mary this way because it is fitting to do so and because of her role in bringing Jesus, the world's savior, to us in the flesh. Her role places her in a privileged position to intercede on our behalf.
The Second Vatican exhorts the faithful to "pour forth instant supplications to the Mother of God and Mother of men that she, who aided the beginning of the Church by her prayers, may now, exalted as she is above all the angels and saints, intercede before her Son in the fellowship of all the saints" (Lumen Gentium,69). Therefore, petition your heavenly mother in a devout saying of the rosary, especially throughout May. In praying the rosary, you venerate her affectionately.
In like fashion, we honor our earthly mothers, especially this Sunday, Mother's Day, because of their special and unique role in cooperating with God to bring us to life. Like Mother Mary, our mothers said yes to life, not without difficulties. Mothers make a lot of sacrifices for us to come into existence. Right from the moment of conception to our birth and throughout their lifetime, mothers defy hardships and obstacles to ensure we thrive happily. They worry about us when we are not in a good place. They cheer us on as we struggle to stand on our feet; they lovingly discipline us when we fall short of expectations and still love us if we fail to achieve our ideal goals. As my Yoruba people would say of mothers, "Iya ni wura Iyebiye"- "A Mother is a precious Gold that cannot be purchased with money." Mothers are genuinely precious gems of inestimable value. Therefore, it is necessary to hail and love them.
Happy Mother's Day! We love you!!
In Jesus and Mary,
Fr. Bernard, O.P.