Pope Pius XI recognized that mothers often have a difficult time and wanted to give them hope.
Pope Pius XI wanted to honor that anniversary and issued an encyclical letter titled Lux Veritatis. In it he reviewed the history of that council and affirmed its role in lifting up the Blessed Mother.
He also wanted to establish a liturgical feast honoring this belief of the Catholic Church, calling it the feast of the “Divine Maternity,” also known as the “Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
The feast would initially be fixed on October 11, but after the Second Vatican Council it was moved to January 1, associating the feast more with the birth of Jesus Christ.
One of the reasons why Pius XI wanted to commemorate Mary’s motherhood in a more universal way was to give encouragement to mothers.
He explained in his encyclical that Mary’s divine maternity raised up the dignity of all mothers and should give them hope during times of difficulty.
But in a more special manner it is fitting that those mothers of modern times, who, annoyed by their own children and their marriage … may look up to Mary and meditate intently on her who has raised this grave duty of motherhood to such high nobility. For in this way there is hope that they may be led, by the help of grace of the heavenly Queen … [to] be stirred up to follow after the wondrous praise of her virtues, by every effort in their power.
Pius XI also believed that this celebration of Mary’s motherhood would provide a potent antidote to any evils in society that downgrade the family.
If all these things prosper according to Our purpose, that is to say if the life of the family, the beginning and the foundation of all human society, is recalled to this most worthy model of holiness, without doubt We shall at length be able to meet the formidable crisis of evils confronting Us, with an effective remedy.
In this way, it will come to pass that “the peace of God which passeth all understanding” may “keep the hearts and minds” of all (Phil. iv. 7), and that the much desired Kingdom of Christ, minds and forces being joined together, may be everywhere established.
Motherhood isn’t easy, and if anyone can relate, it’s Mary. She may not have had a “difficult” child, but her life was filled with thorns that would culminate in the sacrifice of her own son on the cross.
For those moments when you aren’t thrilled with being a mother — and everyone has them! — look to the Blessed Mother and ask her for help.
Support Aleteia takes a minute
If you’re reading this article, it’s precisely thanks to your generosity and to that of many other people like you that make possible the evangelization project of Aleteia. Here some numbers:
- 20 million of users around the world read Aleteia.org every month.
- Aleteia is published daily in eight languages: French, English, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Slovenian.
- Each month, our readers view more than 50 million pages.
- Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia’s social media pages.
- Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos.
- All of this work is carried out by 60 people working full-time and approximately 400 other collaborators (writers, journalists, translators, photographers…).
As you can imagine, behind these numbers there is a big effort. We need your support so we can keep offering this service of evangelization to everyone, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.
Support Aleteia from as little as $1 – and only takes a minute. Thank you!