[My wife was asked to prepare comments for a reflection on Mother's Day to be shared with the congregation at the Sunday morning mass at the Saint Francis of Assisi parish on Sunday, May 9, 2010. With her permission, I am sharing her Mother's Day speech with you here. The following blog post generally reflects her comments from that event.]
When Father Charlie asked me to speak today, one of my first responses was, “Well, do you have anyone else in mind?” almost hoping he would say, “Yes, never mind.” But he didn’t. He gave me time to think about it and realize that sometimes you just can’t grow unless you break out of your comfort zone.
As I began to reflect on this day, I was at a loss on what I would say. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the first person I thought of and I began praying, drawing strength from her. She is the one who all of us Mothers would love to emulate as being that perfect nurturing and loving mother to our own children.
My Grandmother was the second person I prayed to for guidance and wisdom. In my opinion my Grandmother was as close to being a saint as you could possibly get, raising nine children of her own, helping to raise several grandchildren and lovingly caring for any baby or child that needed her. My grandmother loved children. She was always full of love, kindness and that special homemade remedy that could cure almost any ailment.
Then there is my mother, who is pretty much a saint herself for having all of us five children by the time she was 26. With three brothers only a year apart and my sister and I only two years apart, we’re still not sure how she managed to get us all raised while keeping her sanity intact.
My husband and I have been blessed with three wonderful children of our own who are 19, 16, and 13. We were also fortunate enough to foster and love six newborn babies at different times and are sure that their adoptive mother’s are having a very blessed Mother's Day as well.
In today’s gospel as Jesus continues His teachings to his disciples, He speaks to them, sharing His wisdom and love while He is still among them. He reveals His love for them and lets them know that when He is no longer with them, God will send the Holy Spirit to them, and the Holy Spirit will help guide them and remind them of all Jesus had taught them.
My husband and I often remind our own children to pray and listen to the Holy Spirit when they are unsure of what to do, or conflicted with any situation where they need guidance to help them make the right call.
One of the things I have learned is that what we say and do as Mothers reveals who we are and ultimately who our children are and will become. This becomes more visible through the years when you discover that your children have taught us nearly as much as we taught them. From our children we learned to have a little more patience, a lot more compassion and understanding and the necessary ability to pick our battles carefully. As in most families, there are... and always will be a few trying times here and there. Some worse than others and some that might even shake up your faith a bit. In those times you pray that the Holy Spirit shows you the way. In most cases, throughout a lot of different times in your life, the Holy Spirit will show you, through your children's faith, that God is always there. When you see the Holy Spirit working through your children, it increases your own faith a hundred times. It can be through your son, who after making his First Reconciliation, walks back to the pew while looking over at you with the biggest smile and giving you two thumbs up. Or it can be in a simple car ride, running your daughter to yet another dance class and seeing her in the rear view mirror, making the sign of the cross as we pass the big Crucifix on Telegraph Road... every time we pass it. And faith shows itself in even your oldest child who calls from college and through conversation you discover that even though she no longer lives at home, she is still saying her prayers. Over the course of the last 19 years, through my kids, I have learned that not only their faith has grown stronger but my faith has endured, slipping occasionally during our struggles, but increasing with greater strength through the examples of not only what I have shown to my children, but through the examples of what they have shown to me.
I pray we follow Mary’s example of loving and caring for our children so much that they can grow and reveal who they are and will become.
I want to wish all the Mother’s here a very Blessed Mother's Day... as well as my own Mother because who I am or hope to be, I owe to her.