Emily and I would like to wish you all a very blessed Mother’s Day!  We hope you have a wonderful day, surrounded by your family.   As we celebrate motherhood, today we also recognize that some women may have difficult relationships with their mothers or daughters.  Today we welcome a guest post from our friend Eva on finding love and mercy this Mother’s Day.

Celebrating our mothers on Mother’s Day can bring up mixed feelings, depending on what one’s relationship with her mother was like. Some women admire their mothers for their virtue and compatible personality. Some women were raised by mothers who were mentally ill or abusive, hence honoring their mother on Mother’s Day feels more like a duty than a day of enjoyment. Some women’s relationship with their mothers falls somewhere in between: their mother loved them and gave them all that they had, yet there were personality conflicts or imperfections in their mother that may have negatively affected their relationship with her.

My relationship with my mother falls in the somewhere-in-between category. My mother loved me and gave me all that she had. She and my dad raised my siblings and I in the faith as best as they could based on their limited catechesis: we attended Mass together on Sunday, occasionally said grace before meals, and were dropped off at CCD classes or Catholic school. After my siblings had grown, my mom came to more deeply embrace her faith. Yet she regrets not having a better knowledge of our Faith nor being able to pass on a closer relationship with Christ to us when we were children.

My mom also suffered a life-long struggle with anxiety and depression.   She struggled in her marriage to my father and had social anxiety.   I, being a natural optimist and having a social personality, didn’t find my mom’s social anxiety appealing. Her bitterness and harsh attitude about life could make being around her difficult and I harbored negative feelings toward my mother.

It was my junior year of college when I attended a silent retreat that I learned how to no longer harbor a critical spirit toward my mother. During Eucharistic adoration, in absolute silence, I realized I needed to PRAY for her rather than think of her by her negative personality traits. In my heart I saw an image of the Blessed Mother pass on the outline of a metallic, magenta rose over my mom. This experience softened my heart to see her through the lens of mercy and compassion rather than justice and anger. Or perhaps it was the other way around: my forgiving of my mother enabled me to experience this mystical vision in my heart.

Right when I returned from that silent retreat, my mom calls me to tell that she experienced the scent of roses during a daily morning Mass that weekend. There was no one sitting around her, no rose-scented rosary beads nearby wafting over to her pew. The scent grew stronger during the consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Lord.

Forgiveness is a powerful agent of healing for ourselves and for those we believe need our forgiveness, whether they be at fault or not. If you have a relationship with your mother as I did with mine, this Mother’s Day give her the gift of a spiritual bouquet of roses through your love and mercy.