Word Magazine May 1988 Page 21


The Very Rev. James C. Meena

Mother’s Day is a special day for all of us and I’d like to devote this article to thinking about the significance of this day. In this North American society which has become so youth oriented, it seems that motherhood is becoming less and less important and receiving no where near the kind of emphasis that it ought to receive. Parenthood in general is being denigrated. Young people have adopted the concept of the new morality which is really the old immorality in disguise.

Marriage has become something to be shunned like the plague and parents have been declared the enemy. They have been placed in the same category with politicians, the police, teachers and others who represent what the young people consider to be oppressive authority. And that’s so tragic because so many of the young people who have embraced this philosophy have cut themselves off, not only from the orderliness of society, but have, in truth, cut themselves off from the orderliness of God. Rather than declaring all things which we decree as being our enemy, perhaps we ought to devote more of our time to trying to understand those things which we do not understand and trying to correct those things with which we disagree.

I have experienced many complaints from parents who tell me that their children, when they reach a certain age, seem to be no longer concerned with the well being of the family. Not only are they rebellious but they are alienated and in turn they alienate their parents and the extended family in general. They have a less than casual attitude in their relationship to parents, brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles. They might have a nodding relationship. They come into the house, eat their meals and then leave to “do their own thing,” whatever their own thing may be. And woe be to the parent who suggests that perhaps it is time for them to consider doing something positive and constructive with their lives because then the parents are getting on their case and climbing all over their backs and they are being hassled.

I feel so sorry for those young people who adopt that attitude. Psychologists in our modern times are telling us that it is necessary for us to love our children and to express that love. I heard a commentary not long ago saying that children ought to be hugged at least four times a day in order that they might feel the love of their parents. We read articles that tell us that infants who are cuddled, embraced, sung to and spoken to softly seem to adjust to life a little bit better than those who are simply left in their cribs to cry. There is a saying around. Perhaps you have read it on bumper stickers. “When was the last time you hugged your children?” It is a good question.

I would like to ask you young people a question today. When was the last time you hugged your mother? Mothers need to be hugged too. They need to be loved and they need to be reassured of your love. When was the last time you took the trouble to display your love for your mother? I don’t mean buying her a box of candy or flowers on Mother’s Day but I mean really demonstrating your love sincerely and doing it on a regular basis. You know, those of you who still have your mothers are very lucky. And those of us who have lost our mothers but who loved them and took the time to show them our love are also very lucky because we look back on our relationship with great fondness and with a minimum of guilt because we took time to hug our mothers.

I was raised in a household where hugging and kissing was very much a part of our way of life. We were a demonstrative family and I grew up to be a demonstrative person. There are those who demonstrate their love in different ways. There are those who feel that hugging and kissing is not the way to express their love but they don’t have the good fortune of being of Arabic extraction. I haven’t met anyone of that extraction who does not feel the need to touch, to embrace and to show his love by this kind of demonstration.

Take care of your mothers. They’re probably the most precious possession that you have and when your mothers are no longer with you cherish their memories. Cherish the good relationships, that you had with them. The good things that they shared with you. The many sacrifices that they made for you which they considered not to be sacrifices at all. Remember that our Lord Himself in the last moments of His life demonstrated His concern for His mother when he commended her into the care of His beloved disciple, John, and charged him to look after his mother as though he were her son. If our Lord Himself exemplified such concern for the woman through whom He was born and who raised Him and who expressed such great concerns for Him throughout his lifetime, then it behooves us to follow that example and not to take our mothers for granted.

As I scan the congregation on Mother’s Day and see mothers without their children, which children could have been with us if they had only made the effort, my heart bleeds with great sadness. It pains me to see so many of our young people drifting away from that which is the basis of our society and the basis of our faith, the solidarity of the family. It causes me great pain that this society forces so many mothers of young children to seek employment in order to supplement the family income or in order to support themselves as a result of a broken household thereby having little or no time to spend with their children. Not only does this cause me pain but it causes pain to our Lord Himself who has created the family as a microcosm of His Heavenly Kingdom. It is out of the family that comes all things good or all things evil in our society.

On this Mother’s Day I ask you not only to pray for your mothers or to think of them fondly not just today but every day, to hug them and let them know that you love them. As they showed you their love when you were a child, so now demonstrate your love to them. That’s the only way you’re ever going to be able to begin to repay them, who do not seek to be repaid for anything.

Mothers need to be hugged . . .

to be loved . . .

to be reassured of your love.