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Thank God for mothers

Sunday, May 13, 2018

“Her children stand up and proclaim her blessed. Her husband, too, sings her praises”
—Proverbs 31:28

Today is Mother’s Day. Thank God for mothers. Amidst the joy, laughter and love that will be shared today, I want to share an uncomfortable perspective with you to raise awareness of some of the social ills that beset some mothers in our communities/world and which we need to address if we are to build a just society/world.

While many children, husbands/partners, relatives will “stand up” and call the mothers in their families “blessed”, let us remember and reach out to those mothers who are struggling to make ends meet; those mothers whose children have moved away and who hardly visit them or communicate with them; those mothers for whom loneliness is their only companion.

You may recall that in June 2013 China passed a law: Elderly Rights Law. Celia Hatton, BBC, reported that the law “deals with the growing problem of lonely elderly people by ordering adult children
Thank God for mothersto visit their ageing parents. The law says adults should care about their parents’ ‘spiritual needs’ and ‘never neglect or snub elderly people’… Those who live far away from parents should go home often,” it says. Grown children in China must visit their parents or potentially face fines or jail.

This may seem to be a draconian measure to a problem faced by countries with ageing populations—including T&T, but we need to be aware of/respond to the needs of those mothers/fathers/guardians whose love and devotion to us, their children, have helped to make us who we are today. Let us rail against what Pope Francis calls today’s “throwaway culture.”

In T&T, where many single mothers struggle to be mother and father to their children, their sons, in particular, could do with some strong mentors and role models. And let us not be afraid to seek help for those mothers who may be abused by their child(ren).
Recently, I had to stand up for a single mother whose neighbour was blaming her for her son’s violence against her, his mother. Some mothers suffer silently from violence at the hands of their child(ren)—not only physically, and emotionally, but also financially. In many countries, there is a growing awareness of offspring violence. There are many angry young persons in society, who are simply mimicking what they experience in society.

In a country in which domestic violence against women/men is rampant, let us all, including those in our educational institutions, commit to building right relationships. Let us ask God to soften our hearts of stone to become advocates for homeless mothers, for those mothers begging on the streets as we drive past in our cars with our ACs on full blast. It is time to get out of our comfort zones and act as messengers of hope and love in our country.

Let us do like Pope Francis did in 2016 and ask for the forgiveness of the homeless and marginalised for failures to recognise their dignity and alleviate their suffering “I ask your forgiveness for all the times that we Christians stand before a poor person or a situation of poverty and look the other way.” Let us see Christ in the faces of each mother.

On this Mother’s Day, let us remember that the economy of the country should work for the people. This is a key social justice principle. The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, no 201, reminds us that social justice “concerns the social, political, and economic aspects and, above all, the structural dimension of problems and their respective solutions.” With all the challenges that we will continue to face during these economically difficult times of structural adjustment/transformation, let us all be advocates for those mothers who are among the poor and the vulnerable, so that as the “pie” shrinks, those on the margins/fringes will be embraced in the fold of humanity and will be able to have a fair share in whatever little exists.

Employers, reflect today on how you treat mothers in the workplace and commit to develop and implement exemplary employers’ best practice that will acknowledge the dignity and worth of mothers whom you employ.

What do I wish for all mothers? LOVE & JUSTICE! As the Catholic Relief Services state: “Justice is about the establishment and promotion of right relationships between all members of the human family, as well as the transformation of society’s unjust structures and institutions.”

Happy Mother’s Day!

Leela Ramdeen


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