Mother’s Day – Echoes of God’s Love – A reflection from Bishop Fintan

One of the most challenging things about lockdown for me was not being able to visit my mother on a regular basis. She is in in a Nursing Home for the past few years. However, Mother’s Day is a day in which we focus on celebrating the many ways that mothers have enriched and blessed our lives in so many ways.

The Gospel at Mass on Mother’s day is a celebration of God’s infinite love and care that He has for us like a parent who loves his or her child. ‘God sent His only Son into the world, that through him the world might be saved.’ We are literally created as sons and daughters of the Father in heaven. On Mother’s Day we celebrate an echo and reflection of this, the love of a mother for her child.

In a German sermon from an idea that he got from St. Augustine, the mystic Meister Eckhart reflects that we are called, as followers of Jesus Christ to be spiritual mothers, conceiving, giving birth and nourishing God’s love in our hearts and lives. According to Eckhart, Mary conceived Jesus in her heart before she conceived him in her body. All of us, like Mary are called to give birth to Jesus Christ in our own hearts. We are invited to spiritual motherhood, to be pregnant with the love of God. In that way we can all spiritually claim a share in the festivities of Mother’s day!

Motherhood – A Reflecton
There is a reflection by a Hungarian, Cardinal Mindszenty that runs: The Most Important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honour of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral; a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body. The Angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God’s creative miracle, to bring new saints to heaven. Only a mother can. Mothers are closer to God the creator than any other creature. God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation. What on God’s earth is more glorious than this – to be a mother.

In a poem called Adhlacadh mo Mháthair, Seán Ó Riordán uses two powerfully contrasting images to explain the nature of the purity of a mother-child relationship. In the poem, he is burying his mother on a June day, the height of Summer. However, in his mind the time shifts back to mid-Winter and it is snowing. The black hole of the grave is in stark contrast to gleaming white snow on the ground all round him. The whiteness of the pure driven snow speaks of his mother’s love for him: Gile gearrachaile lá a céad chomaoine, / Gile abhlainne Dé Domhnaigh ar altóir, / Gile bainne ag sreangtheitheadh as na ciochaibh, / Nuair a chuireadar mo mháthair, / gile an fhóid.

Practical Implications of Mothers Love.
Experience tells us that a mother’s love is practical and down to earth. No doubt we all have had the experience of being called to book by the authority of the caring discipline of our mothers. I’m reliably informed that my own mother perpetually had the wooden spoon up her sleeve when it came to yours truly! In Patrick Kavanagh’s In Memory of My Mother we read: Going to second Mass on a summer Sunday / You meet me and you say; / ‘Don’t forget to see about the cattle’ / Among your earthiest words the angels stray.

On this day we spare a thought for grandmothers, also. I love the following reflection: A grandmother is a lady who has no children of her own, so she likes other people’s boys and girls. Grandmothers don’t have anything to do but be there. If they take us for walks they slow up past pretty leaves and caterpillars. They never say ‘hurry up’. Usually they are pretty fat, but not too fat to tie your shoes. Most times they wear glasses, and most of them can take their teeth out. They can answer many questions like ‘Why do dogs hate cats’ and ‘why isn’t God married?’ When they read to us they don’t skip words or mind it it’s the same story again. Everyone should have a grandmother, especially if they haven’t got a TV. I don’t know where you can buy one, they just seem to be there, because grandmothers are the only people who have time.

Happy Mother’s Day!
Today, in anticipation of Mother’s Day 2021 we reflect with thankfulness to God for our own mothers, be they still alive or gone to God. On that day, we rejoice in the many gifts our mothers have given to us all through selfless giving and love that is an echo of God present in our lives.

✠ Fintan Monahan Bishop of Killaloe

Clare Champion Article Friday 12th of March