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BVM holding Jesus and Lamb_02

Today in the United States is Mother’s Day, when we honor the matrons of our families.

Saint John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women), speaks beautifully of the irreplaceable role of women in their families and in the whole world.

The moral and spiritual strength of a woman is joined to her awareness that God entrusts the human being to her in a special way

A woman is strong because of her awareness of this entrusting, strong because of the fact that God “entrusts the human being to her”, always and in every way, even in the situations of social discrimination in which she may find herself. This awareness and this fundamental vocation speak to women of the dignity which they receive from God himself, and this makes them “strong” and strengthens their vocation.

Thus the “perfect woman” (cf. Prov 31:10) becomes an irreplaceable support and source of spiritual strength for other people, who perceive the great energies of her spirit. These “perfect women” are owed much by their families, and sometimes by whole nations.[1]  (emphasis added)

John Paul II was not only speaking of biological mothers but any woman that assumes the role of “spiritual mother.” These women feel a sense of responsibility for others. They pray for those whom God has entrusted to her: family, godchildren, friends, co-workers, as well as others in need of prayer. Through prayer, she is entrusting them to God, the source of all love. She wants them to live virtuously, to experience a conversion of heart, and to have the peace that comes from a life of faith. She wants them to have a relationship with God. She is also concerned with their physical and emotional needs. She wants to bring healing to the sick, hope to the discouraged, and consolation to the sorrowing. Above all, she wants to be a conduit of God’s love to others.

The Blessed Mother is the model of motherhood. It is important to invoke Mary’s intercession for all the people God has entrusted to us. John Paul II describes Mary’s role this way: “Putting herself at God’s service, she also put herself at the service of others: a service of love.”[2] She is our mother and an immeasurable help in the vocation of every woman.

John Paul II, known as the “Pope of Women”, understood that women have a vocation of love:

For in giving themselves to others each day women fulfill their deepest vocation. Perhaps more than men, women acknowledge the person, because they see persons with their hearts. They see them independently of various ideological or political systems. They see others in their greatness and limitations; they try to go out to them and help them.[3](emphasis added)

In his Angelus address given on July 16, 1995, John Paul II emphasized the important role women and mothers play in society…

It cannot be insisted enough on the fact that women must be valued in all areas of life. However, it is necessary to recognize that, among the gifts and tasks that are proper to her, her vocation to motherhood emerges with particular importance.

With it, the woman almost assumes a “founding” role in society…From the maternal vocation derives the singular relationship of woman with human life. Opening up to motherhood, she feels life blossoming and growing in her womb. It is the privilege of mothers to have this unspeakable experience, but all women, in some way, have an intuition, predisposed as they are to this wonderful gift.[4]

So today we honor mothers. They are truly God’s gift to the world. Through their loving and nurturing hearts, the world is a kinder and gentler place. Thank you for your selfish dedication to your vocation to marriage and family.

May Mary, Queen of Love, watch over women and their mission in service of humanity, of peace, of the spread of God’s Kingdom![5]

[1] John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women), §30; internet: http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_letters/1988/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_19880815_mulieris-dignitatem.html (accessed May 7, 2021).

[2] Ibid., §10.

[3] John Paul II, Letter to Women, §10; internet: http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/letters/1995/documents/hf_jp-ii_let_29061995_women.html (accessed May 7, 2021).

[4] John Paul II, Angelus, 16 July 1995, §1; internet: http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/it/angelus/1995/documents/hf_jp-ii_ang_19950716.html (accessed May 8, 2021).

[5] Letter to Women, §12.