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  A Christian Faith Magazine May 2003, Volume 8, Issue 10  
Mother's Day
Rev. Mark Connolly
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During this past year, newspapers and television programs highlighted the deficiency of American children concerning American history. Over 50% were declared almost ignorant of the great historical episodes that have made America great. Most of them had no reading knowledge of the First World War or the Second World War. Most of them could not identify what Pearl Harbor was all about. Most of them really had no recollection or knowledge of the Vietnam War that so divided our country. When you think of the people who can remember what Pearl Harbor meant to our county, with the dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when you think of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who lost their lives so that young people can have the freedoms they now enjoy, it is a tragedy that such ignorance exists and that the great achievements of the greatest generation of men and women concerning wars that were victorious have all been forgotten.


What is taking place in the realm of history is also taking place in the realm of theology concerning many young people. When you talk about our Blessed Mother, and May is the month devoted to her, you are talking about a woman who saved the Catholic Church in its early days. When you think of how the twelve apostles were fragmented and scattered and then unified by Mary, the mother of God, it is a reminder we have one of the greatest historical personalities of the past that has been forgotten as the historical people in our own lifetime.

We were taught that Mary was the mother of God, the Blessed Virgin. We learned to recite the rosary and novenas, all honoring the second most powerful personality in the kingdom of God, namely our Blessed Mother. If you look back into history, there is not one great saint in the Church that did not have a great deep personal devotion to Mary, the mother of God. Every one of the great saints who has written, from St. Augustine to St. Thomas, down to Mother Teresa and Thomas Merton, have all written about this powerful personality whom we call our Blessed Mother. Yet, she is relatively unknown to many of our younger people. A few years ago I gave a series of talks at Oxford University to the Jesuits from all over the world and in one of the smaller libraries there is a beautiful library section set aside to honor Cardinal Newman one of the great defenders of Catholicism in England. In his writing about our Blessed Mother, he has one recurring theme...the theme is basically this, whenever the Catholic Church gets in serious trouble it is almost obvious to think that the Church had lessened its devotion to Mary, the mother of God. In other words, the Church runs smoothly if devotion to Mary, the mother of God, is ardent, the church gets in trouble when it de-emphasizes devotion to the Blessed Mother. I think that is so obvious today. All of us grew up years ago with the awareness that Mary, the mother of God, was the model for all of the mothers of today's world. When you parallel or compare the work of Mary as a mother and the work of today's mothers raising a family, they had so much in common. Both were educators, both were teachers, both imparted spirituality to others, both had an awareness that God is in the heavens and all is right with the world.

Mother and Child

This month we honor mothers all over our country, not just with the flowers we send them or the cards that we give them, but we honor them for the impact that they have made in our lives and in our country. If we really believe that Mary, the mother of God, saved the church years ago, then we can really look forward to the fact that so many mothers have the qualities of our Blessed Mother that will be a tremendous help in saving the Church. If there is anything we certainly need today, it is the mothers of our time who will bring into their families the qualities that Mary brought into her family. If there is anything that the Catholic Church needs today it is good mothers like yourself who can give direction, give help, give insight into a Church that is in as much trouble today as it was after the death of Christ.

This is not a plea for woman becoming priests or priests getting married, this is a plea to remind every mother that your family is lucky to have you with the value system that you impart to them. It is a reminder that like Mary, the mother of God, you have a role to play in the Church that will be beneficial to families like yours in the future. There is no question in any historians mind that the Catholic Church was saved by Mary, the mother of Christ, centuries ago. There is no question in any historians mind today that the mothers of our day not only will salvage their family, but salvage the Church that needs your help.

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