Yes, we've been bombarded ad nauseum today with thoughts and reflections on Mother's Day. This, of course, is exactly why so many of my angel-mommy friends have been hiding under the covers waiting for the clock to strike midnight. I personally sat through mass wondering how many women would find themselves unsure whether to stand when the priest inevitably invited all mothers to be recognized.
So ironic that the homily focused on how surprising God can be in our everyday lives. Just when you think he's going to zig, he zags. (No, that's not what the priest said...) But it's close enough. I had come prepared with pink and blue awareness ribbons to share with other mothers carrying nothing but empty arms and heavy hearts. I was ready to announce my general intercession for all mothers who had lost their children. I had a little bit of a gung-ho, holier-than-thou, I'm-going-to-stand-up-for-our-rights-since-no-one-else-will type of attitude this morning. Boy was I surprised.
When the priest began talking about Mother's Day, he did not talk about his mother. He barely said that word, actually. Instead, he told a story about a woman he met in a nursing home. He was a regular visitor to a 100-year-old patient there, and on his way to see her, he stopped to talk to another woman. When he asked his friend later if she knew this other patient, she asked, "How old is she?" "93," he said. The woman replied, "Oh, I wouldn't know her. She's just a child."
The priest used this anecdote to offer up only one requirement for standing for the Mother's Day blessing. Any woman who stands must only consider herself a "woman." So I stood...proudly. And this is the prayer that he offered up in our honor:
"Today we celebrate Mother’s Day and the great gift we experience in womanhood. We acknowledge that in every vocation women nurture and sustain life. O God, Author and Sustainer of all life, from your abundant goodness bless these women with the grace of faithfulness and integrity. Companion our sisters on their journey and give them a renewed sense of your loving presence. May they shine as examples of faith and love. Grant that we, their family and community, may honor them always, in the spirit of profound respect Jesus showed to women. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen."
In EVERY vocation women nurture and sustain life. Every vocation. So, I leave you to enjoy the last few hours of your Mother's Day considering this statement. No matter if you're carrying your first child, or you have 20. No matter if you're trying to conceive or have angel-babies waiting for you in heaven. No matter if you have not or never will become pregnant. Women are mothers. We are all mothers. We nurture and sustain the lives of our family, friends and community. In our womanhood, we are truly a great gift to the world around us. ...and that surely makes each and every one of us worth celebrating. Happy Mother's Day to all women.