Many songs and poems have been written about this merry month of May, especially in the northern hemisphere where it heralds the new season of spring and traditionally was accompanied by much dancing and fun and games. It was frequently and still is dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus. And are we not Resurrection people celebrating that the Lord has risen?

Even here with us in South Africa May can be a very busy month now that the April holiday/holyday season is over.  There were spiritual religious holydays for Christians, Muslims and Jews in April.  However, school holidays for government and private school learners and teachers, for some, most likely moms, might well have been the busier times.  In fact all the year round moms seem to carry many burdens, including babies of course, and in spite of a growing awareness of fathers’ roles and responsibilities it is known that moms still have, by far, the greater involvement in family life overall.  The various people needs i.e. all of the children’s, those of the elderly and sick, as well as housekeeping and cooking are still mainly women’s tasks, even for those who have careers, and work from home or from an away office.  Not every woman is a biological mother; maybe one has a fur baby, or is a stepmom, or a surrogate mother of orphans or near-orphaned children, a role that teachers also often play. Not forgetting that grannies are mothers too.  Isn’t it true that motherhood is still considered to be a natural part of a woman’s makeup, and isn’t it true that moms do all this out of love?

Anyone would think that moms would be loved and appreciated vastly in return for all that they do.  Of course they are and not only when it comes to buying chocolates or flowers for MOTHERS’ DAY on 8th May.  But why is it that gender-based violence is such a curse in our society today and mothers are regularly victims?  A local initiative by the collective, FAITH ACTION to end Gender-Based violence, is addressing this in the context of the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FAMILIES on 15th May. This United Nations annual commemoration in 2022 has as its theme, “Urbanisation and Migration and the positive and negative impacts on families.” These are challenges and any mom can tell you that moving house in whatever form is no picnic, especially with small children in tow.

On the topic of gender-based violence a series of quotable quotes, in the form of short social media messages to be passed on and shared posted over the next days aim to draw attention to this issue. See #faithingenderjustice and some examples.  “Gender-based violence is a reality.   The pressures of everyday life can destroy our families.  Seek help before it is too late.”  “There can never be true community transformation and healthy families without gender equality and gender justice.” As the message is shared it can capture the thinking, attitudes and influence behaviour of its readers.  

In spite of the burdens, motherhood is still a joyful experience, also often in the most trying circumstances, and it can certainly  be celebrated in a special way during this merry month of May.  Pope Francis writes in his unique way in Amoris Laetitia “each pregnant woman shares in the mystery of creation, which is renewed with each birth. Each child has a place in God’s heart from all eternity; once he or she is conceived, the Creator’s eternal dream comes true.   For nine months every mother and father dreams about their child.  You cannot have a family without dreams. Once a family loses the ability to dream, children do not grow, love does not grow, life shrivels up and dies.” From AL168-70.   The mystery of creation is lived out not only in human families, but the Creator’s work continues within every ecosystem within every moment of time.   

Motherhood as a joyful experience, should ideally be experienced in partnership with fatherhood.   A saying I carry with me from way back in my own distant past, “The greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother.” Let that be our prayer for every mother, that she be loved, cherished and protected. And that every mother be worthy of the love of her family for whom and to whom she has given her life.     

So, in spite of the suffering and chaos around us, as Resurrection people in this merry, merry month of May, with our special theme PARENTS FORM FAMILIES, it is fine to party and celebrate but never, never to let alcohol abuse lead to abuse of those special members of the family, the mothers of the children.    TR FAMILY WEEKLY 4 MAY 2022.

Prayer of St Francis for peace, prayed during May for Families