One of the finest customs in the United States of America is the setting aside of one day in the year in honor of the mothers of this land. It is a day in which we want Mother to know that we think of her constantly and that we love her deeply. It is also a day to meditate upon the virtues of motherhood, to appreciate Mother more and even to be inspired by her.
There is nothing in the world that can rival mother’s love either in intensity of feeling or sincerity. Love, which is the essence of motherhood, is the greatest thing in this world and in the world to come. One day everything material will pass away, including this world itself, but love shall abide forever.
Let us mention briefly, on this occasion, some of the characteristics of the Armenian Mother for which she has been noted.
Her first noble quality has been her whole-hearted devotion to her family. She sacrifices herself, her pleasure and her time for the sake of her children and husband.
The Armenian woman has kept her home life sacred through the centuries. This fact has gained the admiration of well known travelers and historians. No honor can be greater to a real Armenian mother than to see her offspring following this code of purity and family loyalty. Divorce was something practically unknown in Armenia for centuries. Only through our contact with other so-called “civilized nations” has this social curse, divorce, been introduced into Armenian families.
Purity inspires courage and self-confidence. The Armenian woman had this virtue of heroism as well. To protect her honor she fought fiercely. She faced death as a relief rather than be captured to live in slavery. There are many stories, especially during the massacres and deportations of 1915, of many Armenian women who threw themselves from cliffs or jumped into the fires of their burning homes, or into rivers, in order to escape slavery and apostasy. They preferred to die with courage when they saw that it was impossible for them to live with dignity and in their Christian faith.
Another characteristic of the Armenian woman is her great working capacity. She is a tireless housewife. No amount of poverty and difficulty is too great for her to cope with. When she has to toil for the bread and maintenance of her family, no work is too menial for her, as long as she is earning honorably the daily bread of her family.
The most outstanding characteristic of the Armenian mother has been her piety, her Godliness, and her devotion to her Church and to charitable institutions. She went to church daily, as there were morning and evening church services every day. At her work, she turned her inner eyes to heaven and entreated God to help her in her daily life, to protect her children and to give good health to all sick people. She believed in the power of prayer. She received Holy Communion as frequently as she could and without fail at Easter and Christmas. With great reverence and with a clean heart she approached the Holy Communion, first forgiving others and then seeking forgiveness of others.
Here in America, she works for the building of churches and for their upkeep, giving to these God-pleasing endeavors part of her time. She contributes generously to church and charitable institutions; she gives to work of charity her time and energy, which sometimes are more important and valuable than money itself.
These are some of the characteristics of the Armenian mother. We give thanks to God, on this Mother’s Day that there are still wonderful mothers living among us. My prayers shall be to ask God to help us to preserve these good mothers in these United States, because this country needs nothing so much as good mothers. They will be one of the greatest and best contributions to this great country.
On Mother’s Day we openly and lavishly express our deep love and respect for our mothers, with gifts and sweet surprises. However, we can render no greater honor to our mother, deceased or living, than to follow in her footsteps, to carry on in our own family life her devotion, her loyalty, her courage and hard working spirit, and last, but not least, her intense devotion to God, to the Church and community. Such an honor extends far beyond the second Sunday in May into the whole year and into even everlasting life.
Nothing on this earth could be more precious than good mothers. Mothers are the ambassadors of God’s love and providence on earth. We all love Mothers.
May God bless all Mothers, giving them patience and wisdom to keep on living their devoted lives on earth as an inspiration for their children and for the greater glory of God.