It’s that time again! The time we shop, I mean stop… stop for a moment and thank our moms, and allow our families to thank us. It can be a sentimental day, a simple holy day of thanks and awareness… a day where family comes together and rejoices in the grace that God has given us to take part in creation in a way that makes us aware of His unending love for us.
Like love and marriage, motherhood is hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it. Whether you gave birth and cared for your child, gave birth and offered your child for adoption or accepted the awesome responsibility to care for a child, you know that words could never convey the intensity that is motherhood. Even if you conceived a child but weren’t able to give birth, you know the awesomeness that carrying another soul in your womb means. You also know that no gift could ever compare in value to thank you enough because in your heart you know that motherhood in itself is a gift you are thankful for.
Saint Anna and the Virgin Mary
There are two women who can truly understand the grace and sacrifice of motherhood. Saint Anna and her daughter, the Virgin Mary. According to the tradition of the Church, Saint Anna was barren, and she remained without a child until old age. In her desperation to be a mother, they prayed to God, promising that if He were to grant them a child, they would offer their offspring to Him as a gift. This gift to God ended up being a gift for us because it was her daughter, Mary, who was raised in the Temple and who accepted God’s desire for her to carry the Christ, the incarnate Son of God.
And in Mary’s offering, she also offered her son, God’s Son, to be crucified and suffer a public death on the cross so that through death we might have eternal life.
Imagine for a moment how it felt to raise a child knowing He wasn’t yours to keep. Anna gave up Mary. Mary gave up Jesus.
But isn’t this what we are doing? Aren’t we raising children that are God’s, and not ours to keep? Are we not also caretakers of children of God? We raise them, keep them safe, give them tools, teach them to be thankful only to let them go and live their lives, fulfill their calling.
What is Motherhood?
I want to share a quote from the St. Anna’s Retreat in Dumont, CO because I think it defines motherhood best. The plaque is mounted near a mosaic icon of St. Anna embracing her daughter, the Virgin Mary.
In this beautiful world, there is nothing more cherished, no duty more honorable, no responsibility more sacred, no task more difficult, than that of Motherhood.
I hope these are words of comfort and encouragement for the moms who are feeling weighed down by the many responsibilities of keeping everyone on track, fed, dressed, clean and loved… and in church on time. It truly is an impossible job description, but the most important than any other in the world. Thankfully we have two Superstar moms in Saint Anna, and the Mary the Mother of God, to pray to and to ask for their intercession.
And a special thanks to my mom, who set me on a path and let me go to live it. Thanks, mom. I appreciate you more than you could ever know.