On May 13 this year, we will celebrate Mother's Day in the United States. On that Sunday, we'll call to mind the women who gave us life and honor them in some special way. Around the country, these little honors will vary in as many ways are there are people. There will be flowers picked from the garden and expensive bouquets, homemade pancakes and 5 course meals, and tender embraces from children of all ages. There will be some mothers celebrating the return of a child this day, and there will be others who are mourning.
But every Saturday of every week is also Mother's Day because in both East and West, each Saturday is devoted to the Blessed Mother in a special way. It is, in a very true sense, "Mother's Day."
Like so much in the Church, the devotion of honoring our Lady on Saturday is a way of living out the Scriptures in the life of the Church. In this simple devotion, we attest to the truth of the Gospel and worship with our lives. Honoring the Holy Mother of God on each Saturday has ancient roots, beginning formally in Rome in approximately 352 A.D., but following a tradition that was ancient even in that early time. Tradition held that only our Lady believed during the dark Saturday between Jesus' death and His resurrection on Sunday. A popular legend of the time held that He even appeared to her on that Holy Saturday.
In any event, Saturday devotion to Mary makes sense in the Scriptural sense, as she is the Morning Star. Just as the Morning Star precedes the dawn, and Saturday precedes Sunday, so Mary preceded our Lord. What's more, as the only human parent of Jesus, He took His entire humanity from her. She is the New Eve, the Mother of all the Living, and therefore our mother as well.
So it is right and fitting to show her affection and honor; she becomes our mother when Jesus Christ becomes our Lord.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church illuminates this motherhood and her role in our relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ: "This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. . . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix." (#969)
St Louis de Montfort understood this connection between surrender to Jesus Christ and devotion to His mother. His book, True Devotion to Mary, has changed thousands of lives by teaching Christians that to be devoted to the Blessed Mother is to be near to Jesus. John Paul the Great even remarked how the book and the devotion changed his entire life. He took his papal motto from the devotion, Totus Tuus, "All Yours."
As for me, well, I can attest that the closer I have become to the Holy Mother of God through devotion to her in the rosary, the more deeply I have come to love our Lord. The one person who is closest to Jesus in the Universe is His mother,so to be near to her is to be near to Jesus. I believe that my love for the Sacraments of the Church and my desire for Holy Communion stem from the prayers of the Blessed Mother and my devotion to her.
This Saturday offers us a unique opportunity to reflect on Mary's motherhood, the gift of our own mothers, and the gift of the True Devotion. Let's not pass up the chance to develop a closer friendship with our Mother.