In the month of May, two significant festivities occur that share a profound connection – Mother’s Day and the Catholic Church’s devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus. The link brings together the celebration of earthly mothers and the veneration of the ultimate spiritual mother.
As people around the world honour the nurturing, selfless love of their mothers, Catholics also pay homage to Mary’s exceptional role in the Catholic faith. Understanding the historical and spiritual significance of both celebrations helps people to appreciate the beautiful harmony between Mother’s Day and the Month of Mary.
Mother’s Day: Honouring the Gift of Motherhood
Mother’s Day, which in many countries is celebrated on the second Sunday of May, is an occasion dedicated to expressing gratitude and love for mothers. It is a time to recognize the immeasurable impact of mothers in our lives and society. The day presents an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices, guidance, and unconditional love that mothers provide.
Ann Jarvis, an American social activist, is credited with establishing the modern Mother’s Day in the early 20th century. Inspired by her own mother’s commitment to promoting peace and caring for wounded soldiers during the American Civil War, Ann envisioned a day to commemorate the noble virtues of mothers. Over time, Mother’s Day has become a cherished tradition, where families honor their mothers with gifts, heartfelt messages, and acts of appreciation.
May, The Month of Mary
The association between May and Mary traces its roots back to medieval Europe. May was traditionally considered the month of blossoming, symbolizing new life and fertility. It was a natural fit to dedicate this month to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Additionally, 1st May is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, highlighting the significance of the Holy Family.
The devotional observance is a time to honour the Blessed Virgin Mary, who holds a unique place in Catholic theology and devotion. On the Catholic calendar May 13 is the feast of Our Lady of Fatima – Catholics around the world express their devotion through prayer, rosaries, processions, and various other acts of piety. The month of May is seen as a time to turn to Mary for guidance, intercession, and inspiration.
The Link between Mother’s Day and the Month of Mary
The connection between Mother’s Day and the Month of Mary lies in the profound role of motherhood. Both celebrations acknowledge and honour the virtues of maternal love, care, and sacrifice. While Mother’s Day primarily focuses on earthly mothers, the devotion to Mary extends beyond the earthly realm to recognize her as the spiritual mother of all believers. Mary’s unparalleled example of faith, obedience, and selflessness resonates with the qualities celebrated on Mother’s Day. Just as earthly mothers nourish and guide their children, Mary is revered as the Mother of the Church, offering intercession, comfort, and spiritual guidance to Catholics worldwide.
Moreover, Mary’s maternal role in the life of Jesus further establishes the connection. As Catholics honour Mary during May, they also acknowledge her unique position in salvation history. She played an integral part in God’s plan by saying “yes” to becoming the mother of the Son of God. Her unwavering faith and maternal love are a source of inspiration and solace for believers.
Uniting Love and Devotion
The convergence of Mother’s Day and the Month of Mary allows for a beautiful merging of earthly and spiritual dimensions. While individuals express their love and gratitude to their mothers, they are reminded of Mary’s universal motherhood and the spiritual love she represents. The harmonious link fosters a deeper appreciation for both the human and divine aspects of motherhood.
The celebration of Mother’s Day and the Month of Mary in the Catholic Church is an intertwining of profound love and sacrifice.