When we speak of holiness, is there any mother who has reached this criteria well and above our Mother, Mary, the Mother of God?
There have been many saintly mothers throughout the centuries. But indeed, none can be compared to Her in virtue, purity and in Her tender love and perfect obedience to the Will of God. She is perfection in every way. She said yes to life, despite the uncertainty and danger that the future posed then.
And God is undoubtedly pleased with Her forever.
Like our Mother in heaven, we are also called to holiness. Though we cannot reach perfection in this lifetime, we are called to tread this thorny and rocky path with urgent desire and strong will. For inasmuch as our Mother Mary is filled with grace and offers Her Hand to our every need, it is wrong and misleading to think that she is no more than a faint-hearted woman, designed to be meek at all times. She will not tolerate us when we are in the wrong. In the Litany, we also call her Virgin Most Powerful. For indeed, she is the Lady of Victories! She is a Perpetual Warrior Mom who will fight for us, her children! And exorcists can attest to this, of how demons fear our Lady; for She is so favored by God that whatever She asks of the Almighty, if it is in accordance to the Will of God, shall be granted – immediately. Demons can’t mess with Her!
We usually hear that many of our saints are nuns, priests or monks. But holiness is not solely for them but also for those in other vocations such as single blessedness and married life, for God calls each of us to different missions in accord to His Will. We have saintly mothers who continue to give us the inspiration to move forward – the likes of St. Zelie Martin (the mother of St. Therese of Lisieux), St. Gianna Molla and even her own mother, Maria, St. Bridget of Sweden, Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, St. Monica and so many others. In them, we witness that mothers, imperfect as they are on earth, can desire and will to be holy and that in doing so, unite themselves to the Very Will of God, to love and serve God, to be His Children here on earth and forever in His Heavenly Home.
And there are, the day-to-day warrior moms I see, mothers of children with and without special needs and disability, who die to their own desires, to give themselves wholeheartedly to their family.
I am blessed to also have my own mother here on earth, for whom I will forever be grateful to God. I remember experiencing much comfort coming home from school, finding her in the house during her vacation from work. Everyday, then, she would cook dinner after work, or would wake up early when we had to bring our lunch to school. She was a fighter all right, strengthened by her faith and devotion to Jesus of Prague, to Whom she would do a consecutive 9-hour novena for urgent needs, whether for us, for relatives or friends. She taught me this prayer early on. When I would approach her while she was praying the rosary or any other prayers, no matter what I did then, she would not respond to me and would talk to me only when she was done. That really frustrated me then but later on realized how easily I had welcomed distractions during prayer.
As an eldest daughter, she fought for her family to remain united, and as a mother, did the same thing for ours. Her now all-white hair, gray eyes and wrinkled hands remind me of her life’s battle scars. As a child, she helped my grandmother to earn a living when she was not in school. (Back then, not all parents send their children to finish school and her parents only reached elementary level and did not get to finish due to financial reasons.) Sometimes, during one of our practically daily conversations, she would recall the old days, how poor they were, how impossible it was to buy a new pair of school shoes unless the old ones were deemed totally unusable, how my grandmother would try to fix her uniform as they could not buy a new one on any given day. She was dead set on finishing college, not to enjoy a career but to get a job to help the family. When she got a job, she helped her parents in supporting the rest of the siblings to finish their education. She and her parents knew how important education was.
Without my mother’s love and prayers, my soul would have been lost early in my youth. Heeding her advice then protected me. People often hate rules. But rules, if aligned to the Laws of God, though these seem to restrict us, actually protect us from being harmed. Indeed, it is my fear of offending the one I love, my mother, that strengthened me to resist temptations. Imperfect as a daughter that I was (and still am), I could not bear to hurt my dear mother who sacrificed so much for the family. And even when I had my own family, she did not stop being a mother to me. I felt her loving guidance and prayers even when I had to make decisions that are not in tune with her desires. What a wonderful and selfless grandmother she is to my children!
I have realized this one thing, that no matter what I do, I will never be able to repay her. I can only pray that I can have the grace and strength to love her unceasingly as God wills. And since I do not know what each day may bring, whether she goes first or I go first, whether God will give me the opportunity to take care of her when she gets sick, I deign to seize each and every moment of everyday to be present to her, serve her and show my love for her in every way I can, now, while I still can and I pray continuously that God reminds me lest I forget.
As to whether she is a saint or not, I do not know, but I know for certain that imperfect as she is, she loves God and others including the needy, a righteous person who desires to be holy, does her best to be holy and has no need to fear the judgment of God on her deathbed. She has been a faithful friend, daughter, sister, wife and mother. I know in my heart that God has reserved a place for her in heaven.
This Mother’s Day, we celebrate with joy and warm thanksgiving, the love of all mothers, their remarkable gift of self to their children and to their spouses and above all, their confident devotion to our Lady and to the Holy Trinity. May God bless them abundantly in heaven.
Hurrah for Moms!
To God be the Glory!