I have never been a big fan of moving significant solemnities from their traditional place in the calendar to a more convenient day in the week – most notably, moving them to Sundays. Ascension Thursday is a case in point. “Ascension Sunday” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Yet, this year it falls on Mother’s Day, which I find more than apropos. When Jesus ascends into heaven, he does it for good reason. His mission on earth is over and now it is time for the Advocate, the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit to take over where Jesus left off. But not just the Holy Spirit, the Mother of Jesus is given an important role as well. “Woman, behold your son; son, behold your mother.” These words by Jesus from the Cross reach beyond mere sentiment. They convey a universal mission for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Think about it. Who has appeared ubiquitously throughout history with heavenly messages for the world to heed? That’s right, the Mother of Jesus…who is “our” mother as well.
Our Lady of Fatima stressed to the children in Portugal the importance of faithfully praying the rosary. Praying the rosary, as she indicated, has the power of changing the course of world events. While driving I usually listen to EWTN on Sioux Falls Lamb Radio (104.3). I remember hearing a story that went something like this: A mom walks her young son into the bedroom to tuck him in for the night. The young lad has obviously just been through First Communion Sunday by the sound of things. He takes out his rosary and says, “Hey, mom, do you want to pray a rosary with me?” The mother balks at first, she has so much to do in order to prepare for tomorrow, but then realizing the implications of her response, gives in. Then, dad walks by: “Hey dad, do you want to pray a rosary with mom and me?” The dad responds: “Gosh, I would like to but there is a good game on TV.” Realizing he has just put TV Sports above his son, he rethinks his answer and joins them. Finally, big sister comes walking by the room. She is on her way to a friend’s house to listen to music. She says “no” at first, but then realizing it will take only 15 minutes to pray a rosary, sits on the bed with the rest. All end up in the boy’s room and together start the rosary. However, the icing on the cake is a voiceover to end the story: “It’s our Catholic faith…Let’s live it!” Great ad. And not just because it emphasizes the rosary, but that it emphasizes the importance of praying together as a family too. The late Fr. John Hardon coined the phrase we hear so often: “The family that prays together, stays together.” Are we praying together as a family, that is, besides in church? Perhaps during this month of May, the month where we honor Mary and ask for her help, if we are not praying together as a family, now would be a great time to start.
Fr. James P. Morgan