Dear Brothers & Sisters,
There are many facets in the life of a mother. Some are so kind and loving that we will never forget, such as the birth of the children, their first steps and words, their first teeth, graduation etc… Others are not so easy to deal with, such as, hospital trips, illnesses, worries about their whereabouts, disappointments and so on. However, there are some parts of motherhood that we wish that no one had to experience, such as the burial of a child or a miscarriage. There are still other mothers who will never have a child of their own, but nonetheless, their motherhoods are not diminished whatsoever.
The gift of children is a miracle of nature. When we study the physiology of a human being, it is quite impressive that we are capable of gestating another person within us. Surely many times we hear more about the discomfort of swollen feet, back pain, and morning sickness. However, the sight of a mother caressing her belly, and talking sweetly to their child is one of the most beautiful in the world. I cannot imagine what is the feeling for a mother to hold her child in her arms after carrying it for 40 weeks in her womb. I was present at certain moments like that, and we can say that it is almost magical. Surely there can be complications in the pregnancy, or in the delivery, but once the storm passes, then that pure love is overwhelming. This is what each of the mothers are called to remember. We know that the child will misbehave, create chaos in the house, embarrass everyone in different places, including in the church, but it will always be your child. Even when the children grow, it is always important to remember that first love that we had for our child.
This Mother’s Day I would like to address the mothers who maybe never had that opportunity to hold their child in their arms, or had to bury their child. The saying goes that no mother should ever bury their child, no matter how old they are. However, how difficult it is to deal with an infant's death or a miscarriage. In my time of ministry, I have noticed that whether a mother loses their child early in the pregnancy or a late term loss, it is always very difficult. Whether it is the first loss or the fourth, it is equally hard. The only consolation that mothers have shared with me, it is that their child is with God. Maybe in the past you have heard of Limbo, which is the place where children not baptized stay when they die. The Vatican refuted that idea a while back. The Church believes in the mercy of God to welcome those children into heaven. We always encourage the parents to name their child, and to pray for their intercession. If they are in heaven, it means that they are saints. And every child always prays for their parents. If or when they have other children, we also encourage that they are taught about their little sibling who is in heaven and to pray for him as well. We also say that the child who was called by God will never make them cry, they will never have to discipline their child, there will never be any pain. A while back, in a eulogy of an infant, someone said that if a child could speak to their mothers, he would say, “Mother, I know that you wish that I could be with you. However, where I’m is so much more wonderful, that I wish that you could be where I am.” As St. Paul says “we walk by faith no by sight.” (2Co 5:7). The children are given to us by God so that we can take care of them, but He can call His children home at any time He decides. As painful as the process is, only faith will console us. If you have ever experienced any of it, know that you are not alone, and you don’t need to be alone. God always companies us in difficult times, so also our own heavenly mother, and also your child.
Lastly, as a gift of God, not all women become mothers of their own children. Whether one problem or another, every woman is gifted with the gift of motherhood, such as men have the gift of fatherhood. We are all called to exercise the gifts that God has given, whether to our own children or not. I remember growing up playing with the kids from the neighborhood, and how their mothers always treated us like their own children. Remember that every gift that God gives us is to be used to care for His own children, even though they may not live in our address.
Therefore, I exhort you all brothers and sisters, to pray for all women. To help them in their mission of motherhood, we will be giving a little gift to them to remember the importance of prayer. Only God can capacitate us to be strong in difficult times, have hope when all is lost, and above all, to love as He has loved us.
Congratulations to all you Mothers! You are our true super heroes!
Father Steven Clemence