By Leela Ramdeen, Chair, CCSJ & Director, CREDI
“A world that looks to the future without a mother’s gaze is shortsighted…In today’s fragmented world, where we risk losing our bearings, a Mother’s embrace is essential” (Pope Francis)
Today, Sunday, May 9, we celebrate, honour, and affirm mothers. Let our outpouring of love continue throughout the year.
Pope Francis reminds us: “God himself needed a Mother: how much more so do we! Jesus himself gave her to us, from the cross: ‘Behold your mother!’ (Jn 19:27). He said this to the beloved disciple and to every disciple. Our Lady is not an optional accessory: she has to be welcomed into our life. She is the Queen of peace, who triumphs over evil and leads us along paths of goodness, who restores unity to her children, who teaches us compassion.”
For those of you whose mothers are still alive, express your thanks and appreciation to her each day; work on your relationship with her and cherish your time together as our lives are shorter than we think.
If your mother has passed on, as mine has, try to honour her memory by living your life in a way that will make her proud.
My dear mother, Ruby Ramdeen, née Manning, died when she was only 65. Not a day goes by that we, her loved ones, don’t think of her. I remember writing on a Mother’s Day card to her, the words of an unknown writer: “To the world you are a Mother, but to our family you are the World.”
‘Ma’ was a radiant example of love, service, patience, self-sacrifice, and generosity. She had an unfailing sense of duty to her family. She was a woman of faith, wisdom, and common sense. In the words of Rabindranath Tagore, she filled our home “with the fragrance of love and kindness”.
She passed on to her seven children her deep, abiding faith, and moral and spiritual values that continue to stand us in good stead as we journey on. In the face of life’s adversities, she and my father, Balgobin Ramdeen, taught us about family solidarity—a vital dimension of family life.
I love, respect, and admire my mother for all that she accomplished and all that she taught us. She was a most gracious woman who is still deeply loved and missed.
As I write, I am reminiscing about some of my precious memories of my mother. I was a grown woman and still loved having her comb my hair. These sessions provided us with a wonderful opportunity to talk about so many issues. All my jobs were demanding, and I valued my parents’ wise counsel. Ma was always practical. I know that she had not read Voltaire, but she always reminded me that “common sense is not so common”.
It was she who helped me to temper my academic knowledge/critical thinking with common sense! And whenever racism reared its ugly head, disturbing my peace, it was Ma who equipped me with some choice advice about how to respond with panache.
We live in a country/world in which many mothers are hurting. Let us reach out to homeless women, struggling single mothers, elderly women/mothers who reside in homes for the aged or those lying in hospitals with no-one to visit them.
Let us not forget the widows, grandmothers, guardians and the single women and men who act as mothers to others. If we truly love God, we will see Him in the faces of each of these women and men; we will reach out in compassion to assist them; we will serve them.
Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel of John 15:9–17, are most appropriate for the celebration of Mother’s Day. If we are to remain in Christ, we must keep His commandments, the greatest of which is “to love one another”.
In the same way that Jesus commissioned His disciples “to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last”, let us never forget that we can only do so if we love one another.
How many of you have seen the 1959 film Imitation of Life? The funeral scene with Mahalia Jackson singing ‘Troubles of the World’ is indelibly imprinted in my mind.
In today’s world, there are some children who cut ties with their mothers/fathers for various reasons. Today, let us pray for those who have done so, that the Lord will fill their hearts with love for His tremendous gift of mother and father.
The Church wishes to help form consciences in political life and to stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice as well as greater readiness to act accordingly, even when this might involve conflict with situations of personal interest. (28)
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas EstCCSJ Social Justice Education Committee