This past Sunday my wife and I attended Mass in New York City prior to visiting my wife’s elderly mother. We would be spending the day visiting with my mother-in-law and my wife’s family. As you would expect, the priest gave special recognition to all of the mothers in attendance, and asked that they stand up and be recognized. I say “as expected” not only because it was Mother’s Day, but also because Catholicism is particularly reverential toward motherhood, given the church’s veneration of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. At Mass they also distributed a Happy Mother’s Day card that contained a short piece of verse called “A Mother’s Love.” The first two lines read
Of all the gifts that God has given both here on earth and up above.
The gift more precious and dear is the gift of a mother’s love.
The sentiment expressed, of course, is a beautiful one and you would think is beyond reproach, but there are those who might scoff at, or worse, be offended by this type of veneration.
Putting aside the religious aspect of motherhood, without a doubt the most cherished possession in Nature is the Mother. Even before this past Sunday, I was struck watching a National Geographic special about mothers of innumerable species and the importance of them. All of nature is about survival of the species–the mother always choosing a mate in a way meant to ensure, or at least improve the likelihood, that her cubs will grow strong and survive. Reptiles, mammals, birds, amphibians—it is all about mothers and them doing what they can to guarantee the survival of their offspring so that the species lives on. Nature has no greater treasure than Motherhood and what it does for life. It is Life—its start and its continuation.
So, whether you are religious or not, whether you are a naturalist or not, know this: Motherhood is at the heart of all of it.
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