Isn’t the title exactly what we want to do? Craft Mother’s Day? I don’t mean making a bunch of things that may or may not hang around for more than a week or two (you can find a different post with those ideas!). Aren’t we tempted every year to try and manipulate Mother’s Day into a day focused on how we’d like to be loved? And yet, this goes against the very spirit of mothering.
As women, we are uniquely called to mother. Mothering means so many things, but at its heart, it is a particular way of accepting and giving love. If we look at our bodies, we know more about how we should live out that call. The life-giving power we have, for instance, is completely hidden, but also right at our center. To me, that says we have to really work at being humble. We know that we have a tremendous power, especially over the weak and innocent, and we have to wield that power with humility. We also have to recognize the hidden goodness of others. We know it exists because we can clearly see it in our own womanhood. Additionally, we have to put sustaining life at the center of everything we do because that’s where God put it in us.
In the first reading for Mother’s Day weekend this year, Peter says, “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.”
Aren’t our families trying to act uprightly toward us, even if they have no idea how best to honor us? Then we have to let their gifts be acceptable because even our measly offerings are acceptable to the infinite, almighty, ever loving and powerful, one true God.
And then of course, the Gospel message puts into one sentence one of the many ways we as Catholics contemplate love: “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”
This comes from Jesus’ discourse at the Last Supper in the Gospel of John. It’s after He has washed the feet of the disciples, but before they have left for the garden to pray. While we often think of this verse, then, in terms of laying down our lives for each other (because He mentions that here, too), Jesus hadn’t yet shown the disciples that He would be doing that. Instead, among other things, He had shown them His power in all of the miracles leading up to that night, and He had shown them His humility in washing their feet. So perhaps the steps to laying down our lives, then, should include first an acknowledgement of our God-given power, and a willing subordination to those in our care for the sake of theirs and our betterment.
Often, as moms, we pretend that our interests and our time don’t matter. It’s easier to let go of that way, isn’t it? But that belies the importance of our abilities. Jesus didn’t pretend that He couldn’t do anything about the wine at Cana or the loaves and fishes, or that He didn’t really want to anyway. But, He also didn’t walk around working miracles every moment (except for that whole fitting God into a human body thing).
Besides the gift of bringing life into the world, we have been blessed with talents that we are expected to use to further the Kingdom of Heaven. We are drawn to them because God desires that we participate in His beautiful plan. He wants us to use them at the right times for the right purpose. They are part of the life we will lay down for others. God’s sacrifice was redemptive because of who He is. We, too, can sustain life in a lesser way by admitting to everything we are – strengths and faults – and laying it down. Otherwise, our offering is incomplete. We have to enter into true suffering, true humility, by acknowledging our power and subordinating it intentionally, just as Christ did for us.