BY Lady Nneoma Dr. Ify Felicity Okoro, JP (LSJI)
Efforts of our mothers worth recognition. Mothers’ day celebration came up as a result of recognition of the efforts of mothers. These efforts as originated from the Bible are many and varied. Today, they are manifesting increasingly from our mothers to the society and these worth commendation. Mothers’ roles if traced from the Bible, include these; Matt 27:57 which tells us how Jesus’ mother carried His cross alone when her son was being carried down the cross for burial. In Luke 23:27-28, women of Jerusalem wept for Him on His way down to Calvary. Again, in Matt. 26:7, a woman came up to Him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment and she poured it on His head. Additional references to mothers’ roles abound in the Scripture.
In the 19th century, the above references on mothers’ roles including many others not mentioned and the continuous manifestation of their roles in our society today gave rise to the honour of “Mothers’ Day Celebration” to Catholic mothers. This is to be celebrated yearly on every “Feast of Annunciation” usually held on 25th March. This feast tends to show the visit of Angel Gabriel to our mother Virgin Mary. If this 25th March does not fall on Sunday, Mothers’ Day (thanksgiving) then will be celebrated on the Sunday after the 25th March or as may be decided by National Council for Catholic Women Organization (NCCWO) .This is fully recognized under the umbrella of World Union of Catholic Women Organization (WUCWO).
This writer deems it necessary to identify here that mothers feel high on this day, their husbands, children, relations and friends feel very high and this feeling manifests differently from them to their mothers. This in-turns tends to condition mothers into putting more efforts in portraying positive acceptable behaviours and roles for the purpose of gaining more satisfying relationships from people around, as well as our almighty God. It is based on the above that this write up is de-limited to identify who a Christian mother is with her activities on mothers’ day celebration, as well as her roles as a Christian Mother.
A Christian Mother is that woman who believes in Christian doctrine. She cherishes the teachings of Jesus Christ and accepts Him as the only begotten Son of God. The mother in question can be biological or non-biological. She is an adult female human being. She bears the children of the family or raises a child by performing the role of a parent (here she is seen as a non-biological parent). She is sensitive in fulfilling the main social role in raising a child (Ogbonna, 2011) as well as coordinating her environmental activities for the purpose of building peace.
This ceremony is a yearly recorded event in the whole Christendom worldwide. The suitable uniform for the members in this celebration is the National Uniform of the Organization because it is a national ceremony unless otherwise decided by the Local Bishops. Many and varied preparations are made by the mothers earlier before the actual day of the celebration. On the D-day, it is the day husbands are supposed to feed their wives like babies. It is expected that they will be in charge of their wives’ kitchens for the day. Special behaviours are expected from the members of the family to their mothers. Mothers receive gifts , words of appreciation and encouragement. Entertainments are experienced in most families and churches. The organization (CWO) awards prizes to their deserving members and subgroups/stations that perform excellently in some of the ceremony’s activities for encouragement.
The question that arises is, does every mother merit the above treatment during mothers’ day celebration? Are there roles that qualify mothers for the above treatment? What are these roles in question? Are these roles expected of a Christian mother in the family, church and the society at large?
Mothers are at the centre of their family activities. They wield strong influence for positive development of the family and even beyond. This tends to clarify that mothers possess certain qualities that go a long way in creating positive changes in the environment around them. Mothers are able to achieve the above through rendering services such as; teaching, counselling, assisting the husband, discipline, supervising, supporting the church (Priests) , among others.
The success of every marriage is adequate understanding between the married partners. This understanding must be seen more on the woman than on the husband. Christian Mothers study and identify the weak points of their husbands as well as the idiosyncrasies. She knows what to do when her husband is furious as to quieten him. She knows how to assist by helping them to make amends. She feeds her husband adequately and helps in the family’s financial spending thereby helping to reduce the husband’s economic stress. By this, intimacy is generated between the woman and the husband this in-turn will integrate the woman into the family’s decision making. People around her will always be looking for good things to do for her.
Another behaviour of the Christian Mother manifests not only in teaching the children of the family but also others around her. Children from her family are well taught in such a way that they become more grounded in acquiring appropriate skills and competences. Such children become not only competent but integrate effectively in their families and outside world. She teaches them norms and values of the society as well as their utilization by the members of the society using fear of God. These norms and values among others include; greetings, respect, care and love together with virtues such as patience, humility, gratitude, forgiveness, truthfulness, obedience and tolerance. A good mother starts teaching the child right from the cradle. Children endowed with these qualities constitute happy and peace loving families and this reaches out to a larger society. A Christian Mother should extend her teaching to the teachings of the doctrines of the church for completeness. She conditions her family on how to pray as well as place and time of prayer. She ensures for active participation of her family members in different church organizations such as CMO, CWO, YCS, CBS, Mary League, Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria and other sodalities.
Ensuring for adequate cooking and feeding of the family should not elude any Christian Mother. She should always focus on cooking tasty foods and serving balanced diets for good nourishment of the family members. Her concern is achieving good health of the family members through adequate diet. It is this behaviour that earns her healthy family and not spending much of the family’s money and time buying drugs and visiting hospitals. Giving her family adequate attention reduces tension and frustration.
It is the role of mothers to assist the Parish/Church. This behaviours is of vital importance for the growth of the church. Majority of the church activities are undertaken by the Christian mothers. An ideal Christian Mother prays constantly for the priests. She encourages all around her to always remember the priests in prayers. This effort helps to sustain the priests a lot. A committed Christian Mother participates actively in the church using her time, treasure and talent. She watches to find if there are basic facilities in the parish to enable the Parish Priest to perform his duties to the parishioners as he should because Priests are human beings too. She reinforces the Priest for giving his life to God as well as how he handles situations. The priest deserves some celebrations like birthday, silver and golden jubilee celebrations and is always encouraged to do these by the Christian Mother.
Christian Mothers should possess the virtue of discipline. Discipline refers to as orderliness in doing things as well as the act of doing the right things. A Christian Mother makes sure that things are done properly and when necessary. Thus, leisure time in the family is effectively utilized by sharing joy and happiness, studying, eating, praying, and other extracurricular activities. She keeps neat and beautiful environment within and outside the family.
Proper guidance of the children is always the emphasis of a Christian Mother. The children are closely and regularly monitored to avoid deviation from normal. Through this, undesirable behaviours are eliminated from befalling the children. Adequate monitoring makes the home safe by fortifying the children morally.
In conclusion therefore, mothers worth to be commended in their efforts through the celebration of Mothers’ Day. Some mothers who implement their roles effectively in their families enjoy this celebration more than others. Maintenance of desirable behaviours is bound to be experienced by Christian Mothers for them to be cherished by all around them particularly in a celebration like “Mothers’ Day”.
To ensure that every Christian Mother fully enjoys Mothers’ Day celebration, the writer recommends that every mother should endeavour to believe in the word of God, have fear of God in her, as well as effectively utilize His doctrines to coordinate the activities of her family. A Christian mother should see our Mother Mary as her model and follow her footsteps. This includes portraying virtues such as showing love, being truthful, charitable, faithful, hardworking, and prayerful, among others.
Lady Felicity Okoro
St. Patrick’s Catholic Parish, Umuzike, Orlu