“On this Mother’s Day, we give thanks to God for the divine gift of motherhood in all its diverse forms. Let us pray for all the mothers among us today; for our own mothers, those living and those who have passed away; for the mothers that loved us and those who fell short of loving us fully; for all who hope to be mothers someday and for those whose hope to have children has been frustrated; for all mothers who have lost children; for all women and men who have mothered others in any way—those who have been our substitute mothers and we who have done so for those in need; and for the earth that bore us and provides us with our sustenance. We pray this all in the name of God, our great and loving Mother. Amen.” —Leslie Nipps in Women’s Uncommon Prayers (Morehouse, 2000), p. 364.
Sarah Kinney Gaventa wrote an excellent piece in GrowChristians.org called “Liturgical Trapdoors: Preparing for Mother’s Day” about how difficult secular holidays such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can be for some people, and how the Church can compound their pain. Having all the mothers stand up in church can be painful for those in the midst of fertility procedures. Those with painful childhoods also may have difficultly if there is a comparison made between the love of a mother or father and the love of God. So many people come to spiritual direction to grapple with these very issues.
Gaventa offers this more universal prayer for mothers from Women’s Uncommon Prayers as a start. We know the love of God through other people; but when there is a standard presented for a certain role such as mother or father, and ours did not fit it, we can become even more wounded.
Gaventa suggests we talk more about the feminine aspects of God and Jesus. We can discuss their caring for us as a Mother without criticism of those human mothers who have fallen short.
She also reminds us that Ann Jarvis, the woman who started the Mother’s Day movement during the Civil War, was a peace activist. Perhaps one way of honoring all mothers might be to suggest an outreach project for peace, so that mothers would never again have to send their fathers and husbands and sons to war.