May mothers achieve holiness as Mary did


As we honor the Blessed Mother on the Solemnity of her Assumption (August 15), we are reminded in a special way of the dignity of motherhood. At the end of her earthly life, Mary’s body did not decompose in any tomb. The Catholic Church authoritatively teaches that at the end of her life, Mary was assumed — body and soul — into heaven. That’s the dogma that stands behind this important feast. Mary was given this special privilege because of her great holiness. But we must always remember that her holiness was inseparable from her motherhood. She didn’t live a perfectly sinless and holy life in a vacuum somewhere; she lived a perfectly sinless and holy life as a wife and as a mother.

In the passage from Revelation 12 that’s read at Mass on August 15, Mary is rightly portrayed as the mother of the Savior: the Son “destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.” And in the Gospel reading that day we hear her beautiful words in the Magnificat: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior . . .” Mary, at that moment, was rejoicing in her motherhood. In the presence of her cousin Elizabeth, she was rejoicing at the news God had recently given her through the angel Gabriel at the Annunciation.

Our world today does not have a deep appreciation for motherhood. If you want some proof of that assertion, just talk to a woman who’s had more than two children. Ask her how some of her friends and family members reacted to the news of her later pregnancies: “What?”; “Again?”; “Another one?”; “Are you crazy?”

Mothers with several children don’t need to apologize to anyone. Our hedonistic and selfish culture needs to apologize to them.

May Mary, our Blessed Mother, intercede in a special way for all those women who generously give life. May they achieve holiness in the same way that Mary did: in and through their motherhood. And may their children be holy as well, so that, with them, they will someday rejoice forever in God’s kingdom, as Mary now rejoices eternally with her divine Son.