Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Did You Know Thursday is Mother's Day?

Ok, so maybe we don't celebrate Mother's Day on Thursday, December 8th in the United States, but I'm going to make the case that all Catholic families should.

In the Catholic Church, we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary on December 8.  The Immaculate Conception is a Holy Day of Obligation celebrating that Mary was free from the effects of Original Sin from the moment of her conception.  Pope Pius IX elevated December 8 as a Holy Day of Obligation in 1854 when he declared the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.

It should come as no surprise that December 8, The Immaculate Conception, is also a national holiday and Mother's Day (El Día de la Madre) in Panama.  Because it is a national holiday, families are free to attend Mass together in celebration of their spiritual mother, Mary, and come together to celebrate their earthly mothers as well.  Family members give moms a day off from her usual labors and honor her with a special meal that they prepare for her.  How cool is that?

Consider making December 8th Mother's Day for your family.  (I'm sure the mothers in your life wouldn't object to celebrating in May as well!)  Children and husbands, tell the mother in your life to take the day off from laundry, cooking, and cleaning.  Make her breakfast in bed.  Guys, if cooking isn't your thing, go out to dinner as a family at her favorite restaurant.  Write her a card letting her know how important she is in your life.  Encourage all of her children to do the same.  Nothing beats a handmade card or gift from a child!

Don't forget where you came from!  Write letters or give a call to Grandma and Great-Grandma as well.  Share stories of the matriarchs in the family. 

We must not forget to celebrate the other spiritual mothers in our lives.  These women are usually forgotten on Mother's Day because they may not be physical mothers.  Perhaps there is a special consecrated religious, faith-filled neighbor, old teacher, or a great friend who, by her presence in your life, draws you into a closer relationship to God.  Thank her. 

On December 8th, we should give thanks to God for the gift of our spiritual mother, Mary.  We should pray that our earthly mothers (biological, adoptive, or spiritual) will magnify the greatness of the Lord for their families, local communities, and the world.  May all women come to live out the fullness of their vocation as physical and spiritual mothers.
The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of woman is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved.  That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women impregnated with a spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling.*
* Taken from Closing Speeches, Vatican Council II, To Women, read by Leon Cardinal Duval of Algiers, Algeria, assisted by Julius Cardinal Doepfner of Munich, Germany, and Raul Cardinal Silva of Santiago, Chile, December 8, 1965, printed by the Daughters of St. Paul, Boston, Mass., 29.

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