Nestled deep within Pope Francis’ marvelous Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of Love, is a paean to motherhood. I can think of no greater tribute to those who bore us and nurtured us in unconditional love, than the words of our Holy Father.
Dear mothers: thank you! Thank you for what you are in your family and for what you give to the Church and the world. A society without mothers would be dehumanized, for mothers are always, even in the worst of times, witnesses to tenderness, dedication and moral strength.
Mothers often communicate the deepest meaning of religious practice in the first prayers and acts of devotion that their children learn. Without mothers, not only would there be no new faithful, but the faith itself would lose a good part of its simple and profound warmth.
A mother who watches over her child with tenderness and compassion helps him or her to grow in confidence and to experience that the world is a good and welcoming place. This helps the child to grow in self-esteem and, in turn, to develop a capacity for intimacy and empathy.
Mothers are the strongest antidote to the spread of self-centered individualism. It is they who testify to the beauty of life.
May God bless our mothers and mothers-to-be with the wisdom, courage and faith needed to fulfill their preeminent role in shaping the future.