“Our Beautiful Mother” by Deacon Stephen Bowling

motherAs one of my priest friends has said to me many times, “Mother’s Day is the one Sunday where everyone expects and demands that you to preach sentimentally.”

Yes, Mom is usually the most perfect of people for most of us . . . or pretty darn close anyway.

The work of a mother is never done . . . it is always ongoing. Or as Dr. Carrie Gress quipped, “Motherhood became almost easy once I accepted that it is hard.”

Mothers seek to soothe the hurting, build up the discouraged, and tend the sick. They encourage the downtrodden and rearrange difficulties to be what their loved ones most need them to be. Perhaps most importantly, mothers teach not only by word and example, but especially by patient forbearance toward those who need to learn.

Mothers are patient, mothers are kind, mothers rejoice with the truth. Mothers always protect, always trust, always hope and always persevere. We know that a mother is about love, about helping us find justice, about helping us feel mercy.

We long for these qualities all of our lives and we never outgrow them. We declare these attributes as good; we seek them as people fumbling in the unknown dark with just a small candle to light our way. We know that our mothers are always to be there for us . . . no matter how far we might roam.

All of these are the things we long for in our mothers . . . and most especially we long for them in our Holy Mother, the Church.

These things are not just simple definitions of motherhood; they are some of the highest aspirations for its perfection as well. That ideal vision we all long for is something that the Church strives always to honor and achieve . . . even when we sometimes fall short.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan perhaps said it best. In his remarks at the Los Angeles Prayer Breakfast in 2010 he said that the “Church is not always perfect anymore than our natural family is, for they are both made up of flawed human beings.

I’d like to think that in BOTH, everyone really works hard to try and get it right – and also I hope that they work real hard at saying they’re sorry and trying to make amends – even when it’s tough.

But even when things are not as we might wish, we’re STILL proud . . . we LOVE OUR HOLY MOTHER and we LOVE being a part of her.

We STILL heartily appreciate the wisdom that our mother’s have passed on to us. We WANT to be with her always, especially at those pivotal moments in life.

You see the Church is not JUST an institution . . .

It’s not JUST a clearly defined set of creedal and moral convictions . . .

It’s not JUST a great agent of charity and education . . .

It’s not JUST a great place to pray and worship . . .

All of those things are essential, yes, but first and foremost it’s our spiritual home” . . . and our mother.

So say we all.

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