Praised be Jesus Christ! “Whatever happened to Maude?” I hear that question on a regular basis, and now that we’re celebrating Mother’s Day it’s probably best for me to respond. The most honest and accurate response would be to admit that I do not know the whereabouts of Maude and am not sure why she failed to return to our parish. This is a very typical scenario, by the way: when someone stops coming to our parish there’s rarely an explanation or sincere good bye, it’s just suddenly over without so much as a parting quack. Now allow me a moment of speculation: Maude got hooked on the 70’s sitcom “The Jeffersons” and especially enjoyed the theme song about “moving on up.. to a deluxe apartment in the sky... we finally got a piece of the pie.” One should never underestimate the power of such propaganda – to wit, Maude became increasingly convinced that living behind a Bleeding Heart bush at Saint John’s is just not in keeping with the sort of comfort she deserves. So Maude is living on top of Our Lady of Peace and routinely being confused for the Holy Spirit as she makes reconnaissance missions to feed her little ones. Please keep in mind that this is merely my own suspicion as to what happened to Maude this year... I’ve been known to be wrong about these things from time to time. Okay, on to much more important matters – it’s Mother’s Day weekend and it’s our duty to pray for our dear Moms and show them our gratitude for all they’ve done for us. I always have a Mass said for my Mom at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and I’m sure each of you has traditional ways of showing love for your Mother. Our parishes are blessed by so many wonderful mothers and it seems that we are growing younger with many beautiful families generously raising God’s children with the help He gives in the Sacraments. It’s impressive when the confession lines are filled with young families, not to mention the crowds at Mass on weekends and weekdays too (a great opportunity for young families in the summer when school is no longer in session). Motherhood is a challenge, as the following quote from a mother of four makes evident: “The baby was extra clingy today. At eighteen months, Monica has just this week cut two of her three emerging molars, which had been bulging and sore for weeks. She did not want to be put down and kept coming to grab my legs as I tried to make sandwiches for the older children, unload the dishwasher, fold laundry. Every time I nursed her, she looked intently into my face, willing me to quiet myself, unwind my attention from the rest of life, and give her the one thing in the whole world that no one else can give: my undivided, loving attention. But today was a hard day. Last night I’d stayed up much too late reading (one of the habits of my pre-motherhood life that I have not been quite willing to give up), and got up several times to comfort Monica after the Tylenol wore off around 2 a.m. All morning the children quarreled, and mediating between the irrationality of three-year-old Jonah and the legalism of five-year-old Abigail had just about done me in. By three this afternoon, as I drove over to pick up Abigail from kindergarten, I was neck-deep in self-pity. Why did I think that this was what I wanted? What was so bad about wearing panty hose and working for pay? Wasn’t I accomplishing more? So much of my day is taken up with triviality, frustration, and minutiae! When I got home I realized I’d forgotten to take the meat out of the freezer. Then the cat threw up. But I did give Monica some more baby Tylenol, so that was good. And I did get a chance to brush my hair.” Motherhood is all of that and then some. But the article ends beautifully with the claim that this woman, had she one hundred lives to live, would live them all as a Mom. So give your Mom a hug if you can, and pray for her if you cannot. And speaking of prayers, say one for Maude too – sooner or later she’ll be back with her tail between her webbed feet!
May God bless and protect our Moms – may they experience our sincere love and gratitude!
Your friend in Christ, Father Martin