Mother’s Day Novena
Standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple there whom He loved, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your Son.” Then He said to the Disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. (John 19:25-27)
Mothers have long looked to Mary as their role model. As the mother of Jesus, Mary is seen as a model of motherhood. She has her place in the history of salvation and in the life of every faithful because of her humility and the response of faith she gave to God: “Be it done to me according to your word.”
In her role as a mother she entrusted her life to God, no matter what would come her way, and it was thus that she was able to follow her Son Jesus to the foot of the Cross. It is this example of Mary’s faith and courage that has become the inspiration for all mothers. They can identify themselves with Mary’s experience of motherhood and draw strength in their own joys and struggles of daily life.
But at the end it was Mary’s love for her Son Jesus that has made her the perfect example for all mothers to follow. And to all of us, Mary would say she is the one to whom we can turn with confidence if our mothers fail us or if our mother-child relationship is askew. She is always there for us to offer us her motherly love and comfort and lead us to Jesus Who is Love and Mercy.
Thank You, Jesus, for giving Your mother to us. We are grateful to have Your heavenly mother to whom we can turn for nurturing, guidance, and love. Please bless all mothers on earth and in Heaven on this Mother’s Day. Amen.
During those days Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary ’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” (Luke 1:39-42)
Pregnancy is a time filled with varied feelings for both younger women, like Mary, and older ones, like Elizabeth. There is the joyful anticipation of the child to be born. Yet such joy is often tempered by concerns for the unborn baby’s health. With firstborns, there can be added worries about the experience of childbirth and the responsibilities of motherhood. Women must also deal with various physical conditions, from morning sickness to labor pains. Yet when she gives birth to her child, a woman joins hands with God in the miracle of creation. There is no greater joy on earth than this.
We pray for expectant mothers everywhere. Bless them, God. Soothe their aching bodies. Calm their worries. Alleviate their fears. Mary and Elizabeth, be with them now and at the moment of birth. Join with God and these mothers in the celebration of new life. Amen.
Pharaoh’s daughter came down to the river to bathe, while her maids walked along the river bank. Noticing the basket among the reeds, she sent her handmaid to fetch it. On opening it, she looked, and lo, there was a baby boy, crying! She was moved with pity for him and said, “It is one of the Hebrews’ children.” Then (the baby’s) sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call one of the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” “Yes, do so,” she answered. So the maiden went and called the child’s own mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will repay you.” The woman therefore took the child and nursed it. When the child grew, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her son and called him Moses; for she said, “I drew him out of the water.” (Exodus 2:5-10)
Like Moses’ Hebrew and Egyptian mothers, the mother who gives her child to another and the mother who adopts that child share a special bond. Though they may know little, if anything, about each other and may never meet, they are linked through the child they love. Both make a selfless commitment focused on the welfare of the child. Both truly are mothers.
We pray today for mothers on both sides of an adoption. God, console those who have given a child to another. Bring them peace through an awareness that their child is being carefully nurtured. Lord, be with those who have adopted children. Give them wisdom to be compassionate parents. God, guide women who are considering adopting from both sides -– those giving and those receiving. Help them to put the child’s welfare first. Amen.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, Jesus caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So He went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” And they ridiculed Him. Then He put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with Him and entered the room where the child was. He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talithakoum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of 12, arose immediately and walked around. (At that) they were utterly astounded. (Mark 5:38-42)
Imagine how this mother felt as she waited by her sick child’s bedside. Now, as then, motherhood brings many joys but it also brings worries. A mother is concerned about her children’s health, safety, education, spiritual life, and social development. Even as she goes about her daily work, a mother carries these concerns in the back of her mind. Stemming from her love for her children, these worries are an important reason why mothers pray to God for their children each day.
We pray today for all mothers in the midst of child rearing responsibilities. Give them wisdom, Jesus, in making decisions for their children. Refresh them when they are tired. Guide them when they are uncertain. Ease their worries and give them peace. Amen.
After three days, Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teacher, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard Him were astounded at His understanding and His answers. When His parents saw Him, they were astonished, and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for You with great anxiety.” (Luke 2:46-48)
Mothers of teens can identify with Mary in this story of the 12-year-old Jesus who decided it was time for Him to be on His own. As teens grow, change and question, they bring tumultuous times to the mother-child relationship. Life can be a daily struggle with a lot of pain and hurt feelings on both sides. As teens initiate the separation process that will carry them from childhood to adulthood, mothers often worry about the decisions their child is making and at times, may feel they are losing their child. Although they walk separate paths, a mother and her teenage child move together through the transition period from a parent/child to an adult relationship.
Today, God, we pray for mothers of teens. Give them understanding, compassionate hearts to continue nurturing their children even as those children move toward independent adulthood. Give them the wisdom to know when to stand firm on an issue and when to ease up and let go. Give them the courage to allow their child to grow and change. Open their eyes to the joys of these years. And help them prepare for the day when they will forge an adult relationship with their child. Amen.
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” (And) Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever He tells you.” (John 2:1, 3-5)
Mary sensed it was time for her adult Son to be about His Father’s business, and she chose the wedding at Cana to send Him off. Like mother birds, all mothers must, at some point, push their adult children out of the nest and let them fly on their own. Still, they do so with mixed feelings. There is the joy of seeing their children go out to make their mark in the world. Yet there is the sadness and perhaps a twinge of pain because another stage of their life has ended. This can be especially difficult if the adult child is moving a great distance away. But even then, a mother remains a mother.
This prayer, Mary, is for all the mothers sending their adult children out into the world. You know how they are feeling as they reach this moment they knew would one day come. Be with these mothers, Mary. Wipe away their tears and put a smile on their face. Help them rejoice in the completion of their task of child rearing. And remind them that there will also be a special place in their children’s hearts for them. Amen.
Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s house! May the Lord be kind to you as you were to the departed and to me! May the Lord grant each of you a husband and a home in which you will find rest.” She kissed them good-bye, but they wept with loud sobs, and told her they would return with her to her people. Again they sobbed aloud and wept; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye, but Ruth stayed with her. But Ruth said, “Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you! For wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:8-10, 14, 16)
Many mothers, like Naomi, develop loving relationships with the spouses of their adult children. When this does not happen, however, friction and hurt feelings within the family often occur. This can affect communication between the mother and her child, as well as interfere with the building of relationships with grandchildren. More and more today, we hear of grandparents being denied the opportunity to visit with their grandchildren when the parents divorce or one of them dies.
Oh, God, today we lift up mothers-in-law to You. Bless them with loving daughters-in-law and sons-in-law, as You blessed Naomi with Orpah and Ruth. Open the hearts of mothers-in-law to accept the spouses of their children with the same love, compassion, and understanding they give to their own children. Where differences exist, help them to find common ground. Help them to grow in Your love and to become one family. Amen.
As Jesus drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He was moved with pity for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and He said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to His mother. (Luke 7:12-15)
The normal order of life is that a mother dies before her children. But that does not always happen. No matter if the mother is 90 and her dead child 70 or the mother is 20 and her lifeless child a baby, the pain is the same. And even though the pain may ease as the years pass, the heart is pricked again when special days arrive; birthdays, death anniversaries, Mother’s Day. A mother never forgets her child.
Jesus, as You helped the widow burying her son, help all mothers mourning the loss of their children. Make Your loving presence known not only to those who have lost children through death but also those who have lost children to drugs, imprisonment, cults, prostitution, slavery, or broken relationships. Heal their wounds, bring them hope through You and give them peace in their hearts. Amen.
Despise not your mother when she is old. (Proverbs 23:22)
When mothers grow old and frail, it can be difficult for them and their children to accept the role reversal relationship that must occur. It is not easy for mothers to grow old gracefully. And adult children often struggle with their feelings as they watch their mother lose her independent lifestyle. Life becomes a challenge when already busy children must assume responsibilities for a mother who fights to hold onto as much independence as she can. Yet elderly mothers are a blessing to be cherished. Ancient societies revered them. So should we.
Today, God, we pray for aging mothers. Guide them in this stage of life, as they begin to let go of their homes, possessions, health, and independence. Remind them of Your presence through their children who come to their assistance. Give these mothers and their children the wisdom to make sound decisions and the strength to accept them. Fill their relationships with love, understanding, and compassion. Let memories flow to warm their hearts. Let joy bloom each day of their lives. Amen.