This Sunday, Jesus is telling His disciples that He is preparing a place for all of them. I remember the first time I really heard this. I was in the car, driving to HEB without kids in the car – that tiny reprieve we all secretly wish for on Mother’s Day. I was listening to EWTN, and they replayed a short message from Mother Angelica, where she simply said something like, “Have you read the Bible? Have you read that Jesus is preparing a place for you?” I nearly cried.
Isn’t that exactly what we’re looking for on Mother’s Day? So much of the time, we run around preparing for others. First, we prepare a place in our womb for life. When we can’t bear that anymore, we start preparing the house for that life. When we can’t do that anymore, we prepare a place for our own mothers in some way because we’ve finally recognized how much they worked for us. And now, we’re hoping for someone to turn around and do the same for us.
Whether or not you were given breakfast in bed, or got to sleep in, or were given some adorable, sticky craft by a 2-year-old, a place has been prepared for you. You just have to remember to recognize the gift.
Isn’t it poignant that Mother’s Day is always on a Sunday, when we’re supposed to prepare our hearts, our lives, our domestic churches, to be a dwelling place for Christ present in the gift of the Eucharist? Except, who is it that can actually prepare us to for Him to “enter under our roof”? When we focus on that, and think of all that God has done to put us where we are now and bless us with everything we need, Mother’s Day is finally the joy- and hope-filled celebration we’ve been yearning for, even in quarantine.
We see this most, of course, in the Mass. To me, the gift of life received in motherhood is reflected so clearly in the Epiclesis and the Offering. The Epiclesis happens at more than one point in the Mass, but most importantly when the priest prays to the Holy Spirit to come down upon the gifts of bread and wine and make, out of these imperfect offerings, a perfect, ever-living, ever-holy gift of Christ’s Risen Life in the Eucharist. It is by the gift of God, and a willingness to work with His Great Plan that we have had the opportunity to offer all we are to become mothers at all.
On Mother’s Day, even though every ounce of me wants things to go my way, to have been prepared to make me happy, not holy, I know I should reflect instead on the Offering – on giving back everything I’ve been given as perfectly as I can muster (which is not even close!) with a prayer that Christ’s sacrifice will make it holy. Often when faced with things bigger than my brain can work out, I tell God (tell, not ask or request, because I have just that much pride!) “You made me this way and put me here. You have to solve it!” Pride aside, that’s actually what God wants. He yearns for us to lay down our troubles and let Him give us His easy yoke. Unfortunately, a yoke that is “easy” does not mean “not hard.” The word used in ancient texts is better translated as something along the lines of, “made just right.” If you are a mother, motherhood is the perfect yoke to get you to that perfect place prepared for you.
So let’s rejoice, especially today, as Christ perfects us slowly but surely through lots of diapers changes, tantrums, sleepless nights, messy houses, the occasional and precious, “I love you, Mommy,” and the sometimes unnoticed support of loved ones all around us who have kept us afloat all this time! Happy Mother’s Day!
Family Activities for Mother’s Day Week and the 5th Sunday of Easter
1. Draw pictures of what heaven might be like.
2. Hunt for rocks and build a house, or glue them onto popsicle sticks made into a classic house shape. Use a Sharpie to put each child’s name on an extra stone (the ‘rejected’ stone). Place these on your prayer table.
3. Draw a map or maze. Put an images of Jesus and God the Father on the path that leads to your drawing of heaven or to an image of the Communion of Saints.
4. Put a picture of God the Father on an envelope. Inside, place one or more pictures of Jesus. Then, put a picture of Jesus on the outside of an envelope. Put pictures of God the Father inside.
5. Make a list of the great things Jesus did. Circle the ones you can do with God working through you. Pray over the ones you can’t.
6. Especially if you are a CGS catechist, now is a great Sunday to do the presentation of Baptism. Haul out the Baptismal candles, and grab your Paschal candle from the Liturgy of the Light you did on Holy Saturday. Cgsusa.org has family directions available.
7. Take turns preparing places for each other. Make it into a relay race. One person can make a place setting at the table; another make a bed; another a cup of tea; another a clean desk for working, etc.
8. Put a statue or image of Mary on your family prayer table. Adorn her with flowers or decorations. Then, all day, add pictures of other mothers you’re especially praying for or thankful for. You could give the kids flower cutouts to place by the pictures each time those mamas are prayed for this week.