There are so many different ways that sons and daughters remember their mothers on Mother’s Day. I just read in the Newsletter of my Franciscan Province that some 122.5 million calls are made to Mom on Mother’s Day. Sadly, 11% of kids never call their mothers; and, get this, 3% of the 68% planning to call Mom will call collect! I’m guessing Mom will accept the charges and love you just the same!

Yes, Mom will love us just the same. It is almost impossible to make Mom “not” love us, even though we sometimes don’t always show her that we really care or are really grateful for her presence in our lives.

This year, at the end of May, my Mom will have been dead for 18 years. I miss her—sometimes much more often than others. I miss the way she’d cook spaghetti and meatballs. Her sauce would cook all day and her meatballs were seasoned to perfection. At the end of some days, I wish I could still call her and tell her what is going on—or even better, pay her a visit and have her rub my back! So many different memories.

I was reminded, in a recent commentary of Pope Francis, how surprised I was when my Mom’s “wisdom” really poked a hole in my “book learned” sophistication. I was a newly ordained priest and pretty much thought I had the world on a string. One day, while talking with her—more thinking out loud than anything else—I told her of something that was on my mind and I could not find any resolution for it. She gave me a piece of advice that was so right on target I wondered what spiritual books she had been reading lately. I think, after further reflection, it was simply the gift of spiritual counsel—one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. One might call it “Mother’s Intuition” but I believe that the Spirit guides parents with many spiritual gifts that manifest themselves, as always, in the hearts and lives of those who are open and receptive. Here’s a pertinent excerpt from the Pope’s last audience.

I remember once I was in a confessional in the shrine of Lujan, in front of which there was a long queue. There was also a very young altogether modern fellow with ear-rings, tattoos, all these things … And he came to tell me what was happening to him. It was a big, difficult problem. And he said to me; I have said all this to my mother and my mother said: go to Our Lady and she will tell you what to do. There was a woman who had the gift of counsel. She did not know how to resolve her son’s problem, but she pointed out the right way: go to Our Lady and she will tell you. This is the gift of counsel. That humble, simple woman gave her son the truest counsel. In fact, this boy said to me: I looked at Our Lady and I felt I had to do this, and this and this …. I did not have to speak, his mother and the boy himself had already said everything. This is the gift of counsel. You, mothers, who have this gift, ask it for your children. The gift to counsel children is a gift of God. (7 May 2014)

The Pope’s story rings true on so many levels. This week, we honor our Mothers with one special day given solely to them—for honor and respect. A good thing! Secondly, I would point out that the Gift of Counsel is one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Currently, I am “carpet bombing” the Diocese celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation—the Seven Gifts (Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Counsel, Piety, Fortitude, and Fear of the Lord) are a major part of what our young people study in preparation for the Sacrament. A good connection might be to read what else the Holy Father has to say about the other six Gifts. (

Finally, it’s May, the Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary. No matter what you know or don’t know about being a Mother, you know that Mary sure knew exactly what She was doing with Her Son! On the Cross, while He was dying, Our Blessed Lord gave Her to us—“Behold your Mother.” Whatever else you do on Mother’s Day, take some time and pray the Hail, Mary. Salute with love and respect the woman who gave you life here on earth, and the Mother of God who gave you Eternal Life through Her Son.

Go with your mother to Sunday Mass. She’ll be so happy!