Mothers Day— Pentecost— to whom to pay attention?
—The Church says, “Pentecost!”
—Our hearts say, “Mom!”
—1.13 billion Catholics around world today pray for an increase of the Holy Spirit
—301 million Americans honor their mothers
Can I? Dare I? I choose them both, in honor of our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, our patroness.
The greatest honor ever received by the Mother of Jesus was to be called his disciple. Carrying him in her heart, mind, and soul, was greater than carrying him in her womb. Carrying him in her heart, mind and soul, was greater than nursing him as an infant. Nothing is as dear to mother as her baby. The reality of that connection is something at which I can only guess. Yet for the Blessed Mother, a real mother, something was greater. Following God in Jesus Christ.
My own sister-in-law just gave birth over 12 weeks ago. The love and the joy she has for my nephew is staggering, can I say that I love Jesus as much as, let alone more than she loves Jack? Can we say we love Jesus as much as or even more than our mom loves us? I can only speak for myself, and the answer is no. If your answer is no, then together, we need the Holy Spirit. We need a new Pentecost.
Today’s gospel, the Holy Spirit is given for the forgiveness of sin. If we don’t love the Savior, it is because we don’t know we are saved. The forgiveness of sins always deepens our love for Jesus. To put it another way, if we don’t go to confession, then we don’t know the love of God for us in Jesus. To encounter the Holy Spirit of God is first to encounter our weakness, our sinfulness and our need for God. This is the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit—to know our need for God.
In our world where mothers, sadly, forget their babies, in our world where babies, sadly, forget their mothers, is it any wonder we forget God? We need a new Pentecost, a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit to remind us that everyday we need our Lord. We need him in the shower, in the car, at work, at a concert, and when going to bed. We need him. We need the Holy Spirit.
On this Pentecost, I hope you can reflect on the love of your mother, or the mother of your children, or your own motherhood. Then, on this Mother’s Day, ask yourselves, “Do I love the Lord and His Church as much as or even more than a mother loves her child?” When the answer is no—and I suspect that it will be—pray with me at this Mass:
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.