How Mothers Remind Us of God
Now and then, I need help remembering something. Did I remember my homily, my keys, to call someone, to check on some pictures for an article I'm writing? Something as important as the time of the Sunday Mass I am celebrating to slightly less significant — to grab the coffee travel cup from the roof of my car (before driving away...again). Okay, so maybe it's more than every now and then; perhaps it's every day, throughout the day!
With our May celebration of Mother's Day, I thought of how our mothers play a key role in reminding us about God—about love, right from wrong, and living in unity.
Jesus tells us in John 14:15, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." After reading this, I wondered, "Which do we learn first, the commandments or love?" Thinking again of our moms, they teach us about love by how they care for us and tell us they love us every day.
In addition to feeding, cleaning, and dressing, they protect us from harm. And one way is by teaching us about right and wrong. In my case, repeatedly until it starts to sink in. In many ways, they teach us a "children's version" of the Ten Commandments. By teaching us how to pray, we learned of God and His prime importance in our lives.
By taking us to Mass and ensuring we received religious education in hopes of leading to our Sacraments—Confession, First Communion, and Confirmation, they showed us fundamental ways God gives us to grow in love and understanding of our friendship with Him, especially through the Sacraments.
Mothers follow St. Peter's directive to "Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts" through all the simple ways they guide us. In other words, make Jesus the voice we listen to when facing decisions about what to say, do, or even think. As we grew older, we may have questioned, explored, and sometimes drifted from our families and God.
Yet, mothers have a beautiful way of drawing us back into doing what is good and holy toward God, our families, friends, and neighbors. In a profound (humanly) way, my mom has always been God's messenger— His advocate. So, where do our mothers get this sensitivity? Jesus tells us that He will ask the Father for an Advocate, the Spirit of truth, who will remain in us. The Holy Spirit provides our mothers, and ourselves, those sometimes subtle (or not so subtle) reminders, intuitions, and nudges, even feelings of guilt and goodness, that point us in the right direction.
It is that sense you feel when you take something, even something small that doesn't belong to you; it's that moment when you tell someone you're too busy to help them or talk to them, and then you call them back and offer to help. It's that feeling you experience when surfing the Web, and you realize you're heading toward a site or video that breaks one or more of the commandments. It is that feeling that you need to set the record straight after not telling the whole truth or maybe none of it!
It is also the feeling of goodness and connection to God when you've overcome a variety of hurdles and arrive (sometimes with your whole family) at Sunday Mass. There are countless ways that mothers and the Holy Spirit work in combination to love God, our families, and everyone we meet. When we take the time to reflect on all these ways, when we commit to them, that is when we truly experience that love of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at work within us.
We are available to hear Confession at The Father Peyton Center, Monday through Friday (3 to 4 pm EDT —my subtle advertisement). I have noticed that over time our sense of what qualifies for a mortal sin seems to be getting a little fuzzy or even fallen out of our thought process when we examine our conscience. So, here's the homework for each of us for this week. Take time to re-read the Ten Commandments and make time to attend Confession. We find joy and meaning for each day by following Jesus' way of life, united with the Father and Holy Spirit and our families and friends.
One More Story
Thursday night, my dad and I spoke by phone to a friend in the hospital, who is going through a tough time. This friend talked about how fortunate he is to receive top-notch medical care and have a bed and food. He ended the conversation by saying that we should never be too busy to help people who come into our lives, for God sent them to us. The next day our friend called and asked if we could do a favor for Jesus; drop off some food for a couple of people our friend had been helping.
After all these years, I knew what my mom, who recently passed away, would say and Jesus' words: "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind," and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Whether your mother is living or has gone home to God, take a moment today to thank her for the gift of life and how she taught you about loving God and each other. And if you're a mother who is struggling, keep praying and asking the Holy Spirit to keep on going; in Jesus' Name, He has promised us all that He will always be with us, guiding, interceding, and loving us, even living within our souls.
About Father David Marcham
Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!