Bishop John C. Wester's Mother's Day message

Friday, May. 10, 2013
Bishop John C. Wester's Mother's Day message + Enlarge
Mary, the Mother of God, is traditionally celebrated during May. This statue of the Virgin has been placed before the altar in the Cathedral of the Madeleine for the month. IC photo/Marie Mischel
By The Most Rev. John C. Wester
Bishop of Salt Lake City

As we celebrate Mothers’ Day this year, my thoughts turn to our Blessed Mother, whose example shines through our own mothers.

Examining Mary’s life reveals the many lessons she shares with us. For example, she teaches us the importance of listening. Mary heard the word announced to her that she would be the Mother of God, she pondered Jesus’ words in her heart, she was called ‘blessed’ by Jesus for hearing the Word that he spoke. The New Testament does not record many of Mary’s own words; rather, her response to God was to listen.

We live in such a noisy world. Even the background noise is deafening. It seems we can no longer enjoy a quiet meal in a restaurant; instead, we are surrounded by smart phones beeping, cell phones ringing, and conversations that drag us in whether we want to overhear or not. Despite all this so-called communication, few people really listen. It’s no wonder that we feel ever more isolated.

In times like this, it’s good to turn to our mothers, who truly care about us, genuinely attend to us, listen to us and care about us.

In a similar way, Mary shows us the importance of being present. To use the popular phrase, Mary "was there" for Jesus. She found him in the temple, she was in the crowd as he taught, she was at the foot of the cross, she was in the upper room at Pentecost.

Our mothers, too, are present to us. As I travel around the diocese celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation, many of the candidates say that the one thing they appreciate about their sponsors is that the sponsors are "there for them."

This presence, reflective of an authentic concern for our well-being, is affirming and gives us the confidence to grow and to mature into the people God calls us to be.

Of all of Mary’s qualities, however, the one that shines forth above all others is love. Mary was filled with peace, gentleness, kindness, warmth, compassion: all qualities of a mother. She passed on to her son these qualities, which culminated in Christ’s command to love one another as he has first loved us.

Our world is filled with violence, those hungry for power, those seeking to control. We can feel great stress as we deal with these forces in our lives. Mary reminds us that love, often expressed in kindness, is the most powerful force on earth. After all, St. John reminds us that God IS love and nothing can trump God!

Mothers give us the constant example of the power of love in our lives. They love us even before we have done anything to remotely deserve that love. They care for us from the moment of our conception. A mother’s love is as close as we get in this world to unconditional love, the kind of love that is only found in God.

As we celebrate Mothers’ Day this year, I wish a blessed and grace-filled day to all our mothers in the Diocese of Salt Lake City. It is my prayer that as you mothers continue to reflect Mary’s ability to listen, to be present and to love, we sons and daughters may be open to following your loving example and in so doing proclaim the presence of her son, whose resurrection we celebrate during this Easter Season.

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