Abiding in Love: The Vocation of Motherhood

– Br. Michael, ofm

One of my favorite things to do when I get to spend time with my mom is to rest my head on her shoulder. This means we need to be seated for our heights do not match. It often happens at the end of a day full of whatever may have come our way as we reflect on what was and consider what is in store. It is a graced moment; a moment where time seems to sit still.

Head on her shoulder moments seem to hold every moment in which she has held me, comforted me, encouraged me and sheltered me. Through a lifetime these can number a lot moments with each one providing a snapshot into her vocation of mother. As I consider my mom’s vocation of motherhood and that of the many mothers of the world, I can’t help but reflect on the words of Christ: “Abide in my love…love one another as I have loved you… go and bear fruit that will last”

(John 15.9-7).

To abide in love is to remain stable in love. Christ’s love is stable and continuous – is ever encompassing and it never falters. God doesn’t show us love in hard to grasp scenarios or philosophies instead God shows abiding love in simple concrete moments, like resting on a mother’s shoulder. My mom’s shoulder to rest on and cry on is a witness of Christ’s abiding love in my life. I am also aware that not every child has this encounter of love and witness of Divine Love. There are times when I rest my head on her shoulder that I think of the children who do not know their mother or those who have broken relationships with their mom. My heart aches for these children as we should all be able to know the abiding gift of love. May our prayers be for these children and for their mothers, for hope and for reconciliation.

Love one another as I have loved you is a call to action. It is not stagnant but life-giving. It means sacrifice and dedication. God invites us into this command by the endless gift of love poured into our lives and then simply asks that we share this love with others. Mothers have a way of showing love as real and tangible. Not only in tasks done where they lay down their lives over and over again for their children but in tender moments where an adult son can rest his head on his mother’s shoulder and breathe in the gift of God’s love that close. There are other times when I rest my head on my mom’s shoulder that I think of this gift of love and how it has infused my life because she has lived into her vocation of motherhood. I am always grateful for this. I also think of the mothers who struggle to share this love and to be present because of traumas and hardships in their lives. May our prayers be for these mothers from all walks of life that healing may touch their lives and they may know the gift of Divine Love.

Bearing fruit is a natural part of motherhood – we the offspring would be that fruit. We are in a sense a legacy of our parents and how we bear fruit gives testimony to hope and new life. We sometimes don’t nurture the fruit which is ours to grow and at other times we may even neglect. Still mothers choose to bear fruit and instill lasting values, qualities and opportunities. As a child who will never have his own children, I can see how bearing fruit is not simply about being a parent but is in how we nurture others and are present to others. This can be a bearing of fruit which will help transform someone’s life and set them free to love with the heart of Christ. There are still other times when my head rests on my mother’s shoulder that I give thanks for her nurturing and encouragement. How she has shown me ways to bear fruit that will last by fostering my relationship with Christ and by helping me to see the ways my life is bearing fruit. I also then become aware of those who struggle with being loved, struggle with their value and the gifts they offer; whether that is a mother, father or child. May our prayers be for those who struggle to see the fruitfulness of their life, may they have continual glimpses of God’s love for them and may we be heralds of their dignity.

My plan for this Mother’s Day was to show up at home and surprise my Mom. Although this pandemic has changed those plans again, I give thanks for the moments I have had to rest my head on her shoulder in the past and look forward to the next time I can share in this graced moment. Until then I am grateful for her vocation of motherhood and how I have encountered the abiding love of God as close as my mother’s shoulder.

Let us offer our prayers for all the mothers of our world, from all walks of life who bear love so to help our world love better.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom and to all Moms!