|Murillo's Holy Family|
And what is the most important thing a mother can give her children? Unconditional love! Our mothers love us, care for us, coach and mentor us, teach us, are patient with us and are always ready to listen to us. There is one thing that we never will be able to fully “measure” and that is the unconditional love of our mothers.
Yes, mothers are truly marvelous, great teachers. Here are a few things my mother taught me:
MOM TAUGHT ME TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE. For example, she would say: “If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside; I just finished cleaning!”
MOM TAUGHT LOGIC. How many have heard mom say: “Because I said so, that’s why!”
And finally MOM TAUGHT ABOUT ENVY. She would say: “There are millions of less fortunate kids who don’t have the wonderful parents you do!”
Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day as well, makes me think about all the things parents do for their children. It is indeed “holy work.” Looking after the house; getting children to and from school, doctor’s appointments, rehearsals and practices; counseling, paying bills.
These are holy acts when they are seen as the mission of helping a child transform into a man or woman of moral character.
For parents, the spiritual is not ethereal or remote. The spiritual is painfully real; it is directly connected to the most ordinary and mundane of human activities. It is doing the ordinary extraordinarily well. Mother Teresa put it better: “God does not ask us to be successful; He asks us to be faithful: in our relationships and in our responsibilities."
The spiritual transcends the present to envision the future – and what contributes more to the future than raising a child into a man or woman of moral character? Parenting is indeed a holy vocation.
The authors of the letter of John as well as the Gospel challenge us to love one another as God loves us—unconditionally. Yes, we love God to the extent that we care for one another. Jesus chooses us as friends. And he invites us to nurture that friendship.
The theme of love is an invitation to reflect upon our own family life. So “stop and smell the roses.” Look at God’s love for your family. See the “gem” you have in your spouse, your sons/daughters, your parents and grandparents. Any gem, of course, may need some polishing to reveal all the beautiful facets. But the gem is still there.
Every good parent – every good person --- knows that real love is unconditional. Yes, unconditional love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Unconditional love always seeks what is best for someone, even if that someone doesn’t think so at that moment.