First Down (May 13, 2018)

Dear Friends,

Happy Mother’s Day!

For many people, this day draws attention towards mothers. We know the churches are a little bit more crowded, the restaurants have long waiting times and families tend to gather for a meal and celebration. Great care may even be taken to do things that would bring joy to our mothers. Our parish also seeks to honor and bless the mothers in our parish community.

When I witness at marriages, there is one question that I ask the bride and groom through the ritual prayers: are you willing to accept children from God…? I am moved by women who through their own free will say yes and are willing to open their lives to bring human life into the world. It truly is a vocation, a calling to say that one would cooperate with God and bring forth life.

I think it is important to honor that role, that vocation. Some women are able with the grace of God to do wonderful things as mothers. Others go through trial and error before arriving to a better understanding of what the role of a mother is to be. And still others, through brokenness, have a difficult time in reaching the ideal of motherhood, yet still keep trying.

You know it is the same thing with priests. It is a vocation and a calling and some men are able to do amazing things, others struggle but learn and get better and still others are not able to be as effective as they could be. Yet, one can honor the priesthood, the calling, and know that at some point in one’s life they did their best to answer the call.

And so it is with mothers. We honor the role of women who nurture, who gather family members together and yearn for peaceful relationships. We honor their bodies that carried their children in their wombs while nourishing them. And we give thanks for the times of a mother’s protection of her little ones.
We also include, as we do each year, women who step forward to take on a motherly role towards others. Their lives might not include marriage or having children, but they have used their feminine gifts to share with those who need a motherly touch. This too is a vocation.

Whether our memories of our mothers are good or painful, I pray that we look for moments when a woman said at some point in her life, Yes, I am open to having children. Let us honor that willingness to hear that call. To all women who answer a call to support others in a motherly role, we honor your vocation today.
Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric