A novena is nine days of focused prayer with a common special intention. This Mother’s Day we will pray a novena to honor the women who have special places in our lives. Nine prayers will be posted here each day of the novena, and we invite you to pray along with the St. Monica community.
At Mass, we also have an opportunity for you to write the names of mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, sisters, aunts, friends, teachers, and other important women in your life, as well as any prayer intentions, so that we may honor them over the next nine days. Whether living or deceased, this prayerful gift is a wonderful way to honor these women and to express your loving devotion to our Blessed Virgin Mary, the model of all motherhood. Place this card in the collection basket or hand to a Hospitality Minister.
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, this is your son.” Then to the disciple he said, “This is 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 and, through His gift to all of us, she is seen as a model of motherhood. Yet if she were interviewed today, Mary would, in her humility, probably emphasize her role as advisor to mothers. She would point out that she is the one to whom mothers can turn for help with their concerns, worries, and questions about their children. Instead of striving for perfection, Mary would urge mothers to let their actions be guided by love for, in the end, love is all that matters. She would acknowledge that mothers, being human, make mistakes but would add that mistakes can be righted through forgiveness. Mary would say that she is the one we can turn to if our mothers fail us or if our mother-child relationship is askew. She would note that relationships can be mended and failures conquered with understanding hearts.
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.
Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the hill country to a town in Judah. She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth. Now it happened that as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, “Of all women you are the most blessed, 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 may 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, Lord. 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.
Now Pharaoh's daughter went down to bathe in the river, while her maids walked along the riverside. Among the reeds she noticed the basket, and she sent her maid to fetch it. She opened it and saw the child: the baby was crying. Feeling sorry for it, she said, “This is one of the little Hebrews.” The child's sister then said to Pharaoh's daughter, “Shall I go and find you a nurse among the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” “Yes,” said Pharaoh's daughter, and the girl went and called the child's own mother. Pharaoh's daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me. I shall pay you myself for doing so.” So the woman took the child away and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter who treated him like a son; she named 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 the 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 the women who are considering adopting from both sides -- those giving and those receiving. Help them to put the child’s welfare first.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, Jesus caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and crying? The child is not dead, but asleep.” And they ridiculed Him. Then He turned them all out and, taking with him the child’s father and mother and his own companions, he went into the room where the child lay. He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha kum!,” which means, “Little girl, I tell you to get up!” The girl, a child of 12, got up at once and began to walk around. At once 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.
After three days, Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the temple, sitting among the teacher, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard Him were astounded at His intelligence 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 worried looking for You.” (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 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.
God, today we pray for mothers of teens. Give them understanding and compassionate hearts to continue nurturing their children even as their 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.
On the third day there was a wedding at 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.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” (John 2:1, 3-5)
Mary sensed it was time for her adult Son to go 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 on 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.
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 those who have died 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 goodbye, but Ruth stayed with her. Ruth said, “Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you! For wherever you go I will go, wherever you live I will live, 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 parents divorce or when 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.
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, who was also a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her. When Jesus saw her, He was moved with pity for her and said to her, “Do not cry.” 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 child dies as 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, or broken relationships. Heal their wounds, bring them hope through You and give them peace in their hearts.
Do not despise 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 may occur. It is not easy for mothers to grow old gracefully. And adult children often struggle with their own 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.
Lord, today 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.
"Mother's Day Novena" Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. www.oblatesusa.org/prayer/novena-prayers/mother's-days/. Accessed 1 May 2017.