I speak and write a lot about mothers. Particularly, I speak and write most often about Mother Mary. I really never, ever, can say or write enough about her!

Just as often as I cover this subject in my work, I inevitably get responses and questions from women (and men) whose moms have struggled with motherhood. Some folks have come to me confiding that their moms have neglected or abused them, and it breaks my heart.

“Oh, sure. You can say that,” they chide. “You didn’t have a mother like mine.”

Listening to me speak about motherhood brings up bad memories for these people, even when the mother I’m speaking about is the Mother of God. That’s understandable. These kinds of wounds run very deep and it can be a very sensitive subject with a facile trigger.

These are the people on my mind and heart as I write this blog post. For many, the approach of Mother’s Day is like an approaching storm, bringing with it darkness and turmoil and churning up bitterness and resentment.

But there’s a way to change the winds, and it’s both a simple and complex process all at the same time: Pray for your mom this Mother’s Day.

For those of us who have had, or still do have, great moms, this is easy. For those of us who have had, or do have, struggling moms, it can be extremely difficult – seemingly impossible. Yet, it’s essential.

If your mother has done wonderful things, pray in thanksgiving for those wonderful things and ask God’s grace and blessings for her to continue. Place all her needs and petitions before the Lord, entrusting her to him and his Mother.

If your mother has done hurtful or harmful things, pray in thanksgiving that she at least gave you like and ask God’s grace and blessings for her to mend her ways. Place all her needs and petitions before the Lord, entrusting her to him and his Mother. Then ask God’s grace and blessings upon yourself to forgive and heal from the past and strength and charity for the future.

Perhaps you’re about to say, “That’s easy for you to say…” Please hear me out.

If you can’t pray directly for your mom, then turn to Mary. Ask her to intercede for you to have the desire to pray for your mom. It’s kind of like buying a new pair of athletic shoes to help motivate yourself to get out there and start making daily runs. Simply having the shoes help you envision yourself running and gets you pumped up to just do it. If you find yourself unable to sincerely pray for your mom, then ask for the grace to want to pray for her. Sooner or later, you’ll find that you actually are able and want to pray for her.

Perhaps you’re about to say, “That’s easy for you to say…” Lots of people have difficulty with “that Mary thing” as they tell me. If you haven’t had a good relationship with your natural mom, it can be truly tough to have any relationship at all with your spiritual mom, Mary.

If that’s the case, try this.

Dare to talk to Mary, even if it makes you uneasy or feel foolish. Ask her to reveal herself to you as a mother – your mother. Ask her to give you the grace to want to get to know her and to want to have a relationship with her. She’ll take it from there, I promise.

Regardless of the kind of mother yours was or is, she needs your prayers. All mothers need the prayers of their children. All those advertisements urging us to honor our moms with flowers, chocolates, gifts, a day off, dinner out – that’s all well and good. Please do something like that for your mom if you feel called to do so. But the single greatest and most imperative way to honor your mother is by praying for her.

So, please. Pray for your mom this Mother’s Day.