God Save Moms

God Save Moms

I have a confession to make: I have no love for children.

Let me rephrase: I do not love children I’m not related to or know in some capacity. The sound of a crying child in a grocery store sends me right to the Chilean wine section. If an insolent child in a restaurant raises his voice one too many times, I’m pining for the check. And don’t even get me started about children in movie theaters.

But then I remember: I was a child, too. I’ve always believed that one of my mom’s greatest accomplishments is that she survived my upbringing without ever being whisked off to an institution. My older sister and I gave it our best effort but we were wholly outmatched. Mom could seldom be rattled.

In truth, I was a good kid but I was no picnic. Observe: When I was too young to govern myself, I used to rip the wigs off mannequins, halt escalators and dive into coin fountains for midwinter swims—and that was just when she took me to the mall. For obvious reasons, it didn’t happen often. Looking back, I realize that Mom never broke a sweat. Like all good mothers, she knew when to use restraint and when to reprimand.

Indeed, it would be a shoddy world without our mothers. Regardless of our age or independence, there’s something calming about Mom’s company. Hundreds of people breeze in and out of our lives. Good mothers—and good fathers, to be sure—are some of the few who leave those crucial chapters in our personal histories.

That’s why the Memorare—the prayer to the ultimate mom—holds great significance for me.

The Universal Mother

The Memorare, Latin for “remember,” is credited to St. Bernard of Clairvaux and was popularized in the 15th century by Claude Bernard, a French priest. Its origin, however, is a flickering candle compared to the light and warmth of the prayer’s significance, which to me is a cry for relief and comfort from our universal mother.

Like all great moms, Mary was a devoted, selfless, multi-tasking specialist. To her son, she was his rock, his Band-Aid, his security blanket and his greatest fan. I think of her as the original soccer mom.

Mary certainly grew as a mother as her son grew in age and into his fated responsibilities. She suffered as he suffered, wept as he wept and had the strength and the courage to endure after he died.

Her value hasn’t lessened over time. In today’s precarious world, Mary’s quiet intervention—her protection, guidance and comfort—are what I seek. In a crisis, so often I do “fly to you.” After all, who better to shelter me from the world’s pounding storms than Mom?

A Little Help?

My life can be a messy, complicated exercise. Problems and stresses can be like a sea of toys scattered around a child’s bedroom. Growing up, I rarely felt the need to clean my room—and very little has changed as an adult. Problems are everywhere.

The Memorare is an idyllic place to begin. It’s my dialogue with Mom. And it’s a reminder that I am one of her own—a cherished and valued middle child in her sizable brood. Certainly, the problems haven’t gone away, but I am confident and relieved now that I have her ear. I am cared for. I am at peace.

So when I find myself mired in crisis, like a child in need of some help, the Memorare will be my call. It’s my heartfelt appeal to Mom. And it is her response back to me—a way of saying as only a mother could, with a patient, hopeful smile, “Don’t be afraid. I’ll help you.” 

Photo: Nicholas Tarling


About the Author

Christopher Heffron is the associate editor and social media editor of St. Anthony Messenger magazine, and the manager of its digital edition. He is also the editor of AmericanCatholic.org, StAnthonyMessenger.org, and this blog site.
  • Anonymous

    LOVE this post. Love it.

  • Felix

    I hope you learn to be more patient with children in such settings. I used to be annoyed with kids, now not anymore. Why? Well, because I’ve noticed that the reason for the culture of death is because of people being annoyed by kids. So, I figured, if I firmly believe in the truth that children are a beautiful joyous gift from God, then how can a reconcile getting annoyed by them or making it more difficult for parents to raise them by kicking them out of the room or pressuring them to go off to the side somewhere to avoid annoying me or others? Why should a parent appologize to me for having a crying baby? Then there are many parishes that tell parents to go off to some sound proof room. Why? Why not just improve the sound system and let the parents be? Why can’t children come to the Lord? Are we not acting like the disciples did when they were turning the chilren away from bothering Jesus? Because of all this, I’ve learned to appreciate and love the sound that children make most especially during a worthless sugar coated homily of a politically correct priest that is of no use to anyone to help them grow in their faith.

    • Christopher Heffron

      Excellent insights, Felix. Thank you!