Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Fr. Leo Patalinghug

The following was written by Fr. Leo Patalinghug whose blog, Food for the Soul, I have added to my favourite links. He spoke last fall at our Eucharistic Congress here in Charlotte, NC. Shortly thereafter I signed up to his weekly emails, Food for the Body, Food for the Soul and I thought I would share some of the contents of this weeks with my readers.


There is no doubt the mother is the heart of the home. She, by God’s grace, transforms the societal institution of the family unit into a real loving, caring family – the primary building block of society.

As the secular calendar celebrates Mother’s Day this Sunday, May 11, moms will share in the celebration of Pentecost. While I fully realize Mother’s Day is NOT a religious holiday, I can’t help but see how grace transforms this secular holiday into a religious one. After all, is not motherhood a gift from God! And have we forgotten that one of mom’s roles is to help the child she carried in her womb to become a saint? Every Sunday should be a Mother’s Day! But this Sunday is a uniquely special one, because it coincides with Pentecost – the outpouring of the grace of the Holy Spirit and with our Blessed Mother in the same room where Jesus gave us the Eucharist!

Scripture scholars will note how the Blessed Mother’s presence almost invites the Holy Spirit. Mary, by her beautiful and immaculate faith, invited the Holy Spirit to take root, dwell in, and incarnate in her womb at the Annunciation. She could have said no to Archangel Gabriel, but she didn’t! Her surprising pregnancy was no accident, but a gift of the Holy Spirit! Mary’s maternal beckoning at the Wedding Feast of Cana inspired Jesus to exercise his power and to call forth the Holy Spirit to make the first miracle: changing water into wine. She was there at the foot of the cross when Jesus said, “Father, into Your hands I commend my Spirit.” She was in the upper room at the first Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit, as tongues of fire, came down upon her and the apostles and enlivened the faith of Jesus’ believers!

It is almost as if Mary, as a mother, has a real influence in inviting the Holy Spirit into her home. Mothers have that same power! Just looking at Mary’s relationship with the Holy Spirit, we can use those scripture passages I mentioned to offer our moms a beautiful reminder of the spiritual privileges she possesses in her motherhood.

Consider how the conception of your child was not just a physical work between two people who love each other. It was no accident but the work of God’s procreative Spirit in that particular and unique act of love. The annunciation of every pregnancy is not just a biological reality – it’s a reality of the Holy Spirit too!
The Wedding Feast of Cana shows a mother’s influence, especially when it comes to celebrating well! Moms are always so concerned about whether or not children and guests will get enough to eat and drink. That concern for bodily comfort and sustenance can also be transformed into a thing of grace, especially when moms consider the spiritual hungers of children. In other words, are God’s children, i.e., your children, getting enough spiritual nourishment? If not, go ahead and beckon Jesus to make miracles so that true celebration can occur!

Sadly, I’ve also seen mothers in very tragic situations, having to bury their own children. Mary’s concern for Jesus, at that moment of His death was the prayer that His Spirit would go to God in Heaven. Mothers, in their own way, pray that same prayer as Mary did at the foot of the cross. I realize that all mothers want their children to grow up, be healthy, and live long and prosperous lives. But the ultimate mother’s prayer is that her child gets to Heaven. As Mary at the foot of cross shows us, ultimately, the best thing mothers give to children is a relationship with the Holy Spirit!

Mother’s Day Sunday and Pentecost are a perfect combination! So, when we pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to come into our hearts and homes, let’s make sure we ask a special blessing on our own mothers. After all, moms and the Holy Spirit have something in common: they both want to nourish their children with the love of God, with the joy of Faith, and the strength to climb the mountain to Heaven!

To all of the mothers out there at our Grace Before Meals Family – thank you for saying “YES” to life, and may you have a “Blessed Mother” Mother’s Day! Read more!