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Mother’s Day and the Mission to Love

Mor_og_datterby Tricia Reeves, counselor, School-Based Family Support program

This article appears in the May edition of our Year of the Family newsletter. To read the newsletter in its entirety, visit our Year of the Family homepage.

As I reflect on Mother’s Day, I’m reminded of a moment many years ago when one of my daughters was only 3 years old. She and I were driving on our way to drop her off at school. I was worrying about bills, deadlines, and all those things we seem to worry about on a daily basis. I remember I was feeling especially low and fearful.

All of the sudden out of the back seat I heard a little voice say, “Mommy? Do you like green eggs and ham?” I began to laugh so hard at this sudden interruption of thought that I began to cry. Not because I was sad, but because this small voice and the simplicity of her question brought me back to reality; back to the here and now and the realization that in the midst of all the everyday sadness and worrying I had the most wonderful blessing right with me in the car. And even if it was for just that one moment of my day, her innocence and unconditional love brought me peace.

In my daughter I see a reflection of God’s unconditional love for us, expressed so beautifully in the second reading for Mother’s Day from 1 John chapter 4: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.”

She reminds me of how God’s unconditional love should be a source of peace in my life that I am then able to extend to others. As Peter says in our first reading, “God shows no partiality,” (Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48). The peace found in his love is given to all, and should be extended through me to all.

Mother’s Day is the day I remember that just as my own mother wrapped me in a blanket and loved me, I too am wrapped in the arms of God. His light must shine through me so I can wrap others in love. As Jesus tells us in the Mother’s Day Gospel, “love one another as I love you.” Because of the love God has shown me I am ready and, more importantly, able to give of myself to others.

Thinking about the many opportunities God has given me to be a mother, not just to my children but to others around me, I am in awe of all of God’s gifts in my life; the chances he has given me to be a light in places of darkness and a hope in times of despair. I realize that I have been a mother even before the time the Lord gave me children of my own to care for.

It is this kind of love that is at the heart of our work at Catholic Charities. There is no more fitting mission statement for us than the simplicity of those words from John’s letter: “Beloved, let us love one another.” Let us remind ourselves with each opportunity that arises in our work and in our lives to love as God does, drawing on our knowledge of God’s unconditional love for us.