Mother’s Day. Today St. John tells us “God is love.” This phrase provides an important key to understanding Christianity, as well as God and man. Very simply put: everything about God flows from and is filled with, consistent with and revealing of pure and true love. Which means that when we read that “God created man in His own image…male and female He created them” (Genesis 1) we can see that man, as male and female, is created to love. Moreover, true human love must be a reflection of the way God loves. So that looking at the purest forms of love we see in men and women we catch a glimpse of God’s revelation of His love to us.
Which is why it is so important to celebrate Mother’s Day. Because for most of us, the love of God is first revealed to us in the loving face of our mother. In that love—pure, total self-giving love seeking only to serve the good of her child—our mother became our first teacher of the wonderfulness of love, both human and divine.
This demonstrates the unique, natural God-given gift that mothers have and are created for. And because of this, along with the many other maternal gifts that flow from or are enhanced by this love, Motherhood holds a preeminent place not only in the hearts of their children, but also in human society.
And so although today is not a Church Holy Day, we Catholics rightly celebrate Mother’s Day, not only to thank our moms, but to thank God for giving us our moms and the gift of motherhood.
So, Moms: thank you for all you do and are for us; may the good Lord Jesus bless you, and may His Mother Mary keep you in her tender embrace forever. And let us all thank Almighty God for these wonderful women, and for this amazing gift.
The Anti-Mother Movement. There’s no official organization named this, but I wish there was so that the sinister efforts of so many to diminish motherhood would be openly recognized.
Think about all the ways that motherhood is under assault today, including the many efforts to redefine motherhood. Consider some of the most commonly discusses “social issues” of our day, and how they impact motherhood.
The most obvious of these is the promotion of abortion, which attempts to turn a mother from her baby’s strongest protector to her baby’s enemy. But also consider the many ways contraception demeans motherhood. The most obvious is that the very purpose of contraception is to prevent motherhood. Building on this, powerful ideologues tell us that women should use contraception to free themselves from, or at least lessen, the “burden of motherhood.”
Or consider how the government is encroaching into how mothers exercise their motherhood. Think about how public (government) schools are trying to replace mothers as first teachers of values and morality (i.e., how to love rightly): consider the transgender debate in Fairfax Schools right now. Or consider how government policies encourage mothers not to be married, or not to stay home with their children, or second guess the most basic of parental decisions, especially with regard to discipline.
Consider also way the new developments of medicine have been used to demean motherhood. For example, so called “surrogate motherhood,” where one woman carries and gives birth to another woman’s genetic child. What does that do to the definition of motherhood—which woman is the mother?
Or consider the subtle but powerful threat that same-sex marriage and adoption presents. The equating of the marriage of two men with the marriage of a man and woman, implies that women bring nothing special or unique to the family or to a man. This is amplified in same-sex adoption, which argues that two male “parents” are capable of providing children the same “good” upbringing a female and male couple/parent do. In short: there is nothing special, necessary, natural, or more preferred about having a mother, than having a second father: mothers don’t matter.
But even setting all that aside: if courts and legislatures can redefine the meaning of marriage, they can also redefine the very naturally apparent meaning motherhood, and the rights of mothers over their children. Motherhood will have no meaning in itself.
All this causes me to wonder if 10 years from now Mother’s Day will still be celebrated with the same reverence it is today. I think not, unless we stand up today for our mothers, and motherhood itself.
Crossroads. Each summer, young adults with the organization “Crossroads” walk across America from the west coast to Washington, D.C., bearing witness to the sanctity of all human life to grass-roots America. For the last few years St. Raymond’s has supported these young people and vicariously participated in their walk by our prayers and financial donations.
But this year one of our very own parishioners, Anneliese Slaton, will be walking with them. This is will be a physically, emotionally and spiritually demanding effort on her part. So please keep her in your prayers daily, beginning May 23rd. And thank you, Anneliese, for your witness to Christ and Life. May the Lord Jesus remain with you, and send his angels to “bear you upon their hands.”
Offertory Campaign Report. In November and December hundreds of you generously responded to my appeal for an increased weekly offertory collection. I was and am pleased that so many of you who returned written commitments to increase your weekly gifts. Needless to say I have been watching the collection carefully the last few months to gauge the final results of our campaign.
And I have seen some very good news, but also some confusing news. I was delighted when I saw collections for January jump by 13.8% over January 2014—on the high end of what I had prayed for. But then in February it snowed on two Sundays and, although the collection still increased compared to 2014, the increase dropped to only 5.4%. Then we rebounded in March, with an increase of 13.3% over March 2014. But then I was befuddled in April as the increase from 2014 was only 3.8%. (These calculations exclude a few larger donations from a small number of families who give large amounts at different/unpredictable times during the year).
This brings us to a year to date cumulative increase of 9.5% over last year, which is very good. But I am a little confused about the monthly fluctuations. I’m also a little concerned that with all the summer vacations approaching this same pattern will continue. And I’m not sure why the plus-13% increase January and March did not continue in April.
Please consider how your actual donations have compared to your previous commitment, especially as we approach the summer. Also, consider signing up for “automatic” giving through Faith Direct before vacations start (go to www.faithdirect.net. or call the parish office for more info).
Above all, I thank you all for your continuing generosity, and patience with me.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles