Bulletin – May 2016
“So the faith was planted: so must it be restored”
Eight Pond Place – Oyster Bay, NY 11771
Our Two Mothers
Taken from a sermon by The Most Rev. Clarence Kelly
Copyright © 2003 The Most Rev. Clarence Kelly
…..There was a faint knock at the Door of Life. It was feeble at first, but when the door was not opened it became louder, firmer, and more determined. At last the door was opened. It was opened by an angel who identified himself as the Angel of Life. The person knocking was a young woman. Her face was somewhat pale with evident pain, but her eyes were sparkling with delightful expectation. She had come a long way. She was at the end of a difficult journey, and she expected to obtain a priceless treasure.
…..The Angel of Life said: “What do you seek?”
…..The young woman said: “I have come for my child.” She spoke in a gentle voice, but at the same time it was a voice of authority. She spoke with eagerness and a rock solid determination.
…..“Give me my child,” she said. “I have come a long way. I have made a difficult journey. I am wearied and worn out. My strength is all but gone from me. Give me my child that I may go home.”
…..The Angel said: “Your child is here. He is a beautiful child. He is a beautiful little boy. But you cannot have him for free. You must pay for him.”
…..“Pay for him?” said the woman to the Angel of Life. “What do you mean pay for him? He is mine. Besides we are poor, my good husband and I. We do not have much money. In fact, we have to struggle just to get by, and sometimes it seems impossible to do that. What little we have we need for our beautiful baby.”
…..“You do not understand,” said the Angel of Life. “I do not want money. I want something else in payment. I want something more than money. You must pay for your child with sacrifice and pain. You must sacrifice your time so that you will hardly have time for yourself. Perhaps you will be called upon to sacrifice your health, at times. You must sacrifice your energy and your comfort. There will be times when you will have to sacrifice even your peace of mind, with many sleepless nights and much anxiety. Yes, my dear young mother, you have much sacrifice and suffering to pay for this child. You must sacrifice your heart. You must prepare to have it pierced with a sword of sorrow.” When the Angel had finished the list of things that would have to be paid as the price of the child, he said to the woman: “What do you say to all this?”
…..The woman did not hesitate even for a second. She agreed to pay the price. She willingly accepted to endure all these things for her little child. So the Angel turned around and disappeared behind the Door of Life. In a moment he was back. When he returned, he held a little baby in his arms which the young mother could see he loved dearly. He gently placed the infant in her arms. She lovingly received him. She held her beautiful little boy tightly in her warm embrace. She pressed the infant to herself with great joy and gratitude. She thanked the angel. She considered that she had gotten the best part of the bargain. She turned to leave and as she did the Angel of Life placed a beautiful crown upon her head. She was startled.
…..“What is this?” she said.
…..“It is a crown of great value.”
…..“But why do you put a crown upon my head? I am only a simple, very plain, and ordinary mother. Crowns are for royalty. They are put upon the heads of kings and queens not on the heads of simple mothers.”
…..The Angel of Life said: “The crowns that are put on the heads of kings and queens are cheap crowns. They perish. They are able to be stolen. When kings and queens die they cannot take their crowns with them. But this crown is a truly precious crown. It is made by God and is a gift from Him to you. God has instructed me, His messenger, to place it upon your head. Do you wish to know by what name this crown is called? It is called the crown of Motherhood. It is your portion and your right. You have paid for it and will pay for it with all the things mothers must do and suffer for their children. It is your reward for the noble and queenly state to which God has called you. Yes, it is the crown of Motherhood.”
…..My dear friends in Christ, we are in the month of May. During this month we honor the Blessed Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mother of God. It is also during this month that we honor our mothers – living and dead. During this month we crown the Blessed Virgin Mary and through her we crown our own mothers – living and dead. We honor our earthly mother and our heavenly mother. We honor them because they are our mothers. We honor them because of the great price they paid to be our mothers. Who could count the cost that Our Lady paid? Who could count the cost that earthly mothers pay? It is fitting to set aside a special time to honor them. It is fitting to honor them in a special way during May that we might be reminded to honor and respect them throughout the year.
…..When we are young we tend to take our mothers for granted. But the older we get the more we come to understand what our mothers really mean to us. …..Sometimes we don’t appreciate them as we should until God takes them from us. Don’t wait until God calls your mother to appreciate her. Love her. Reverence her. Obey her. Be devoted to her. Cherish her.
…..Follow the example of Our Lord who exalted His Mother above the angels and saints and made her Queen of the Universe, Queen of heaven and earth. Yes, He honored her. He raised her to the status of Queen. He gave her a share in the redemption of the world. He thought of her in the midst of His agony. He provided for her as He breathed His last breath.
…..There He was hanging on the cross. His head was crowned with thorns. His hands and feet were pierced with nails. He was wounded from head to foot. Yet, He thought of her. He thought of her despite the terrible torture of His dying moments. He was more concerned for her than He was for Himself. His throat was parched. His tongue was heavy. His lips were caked with blood. But He thought of her. He knew what the crown of motherhood had cost her. He would not leave this life without providing for her and as He provided for her He provided for us. He pressed down on the nail in His feet. He pulled Himself up by the nails in His hands. Then He spoke. He spoke from the cross to His Mother who stood beneath the cross. He addressed her by her title, the title bestowed on her in the Book of Genesis by God the Father. The title was Woman. She was the woman foretold by God who would crush the head of Satan.
…..In chapter three of Genesis we read: “And the Lord God said to the serpent: Because thou hast done this thing, thou art cursed among all cattle, and beasts of the earth: upon thy breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.” (Gen 3:14-15) She was also to be spoken of in the last book of the Bible, The Apocalypse of St. John. There we read in the twelfth chapter: “And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Apoc. 12:1)
…..Now on Calvary, as Jesus dies, He acknowledges the role of His Mother and He provides a heavenly Mother for us. Like the good Son that He is He commissions St. John, the beloved Apostle, to look after her, to care for her. St. John writes in his Gospel: “When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.”
…..Let us follow the example of this Divine Child of Mary. Let us respect and reverence her. Let us respect and reverence our mothers. Let us be thoughtful and grateful towards them, especially during the month of May, and throughout the year. It is the will of God. We do not celebrate Mother’s Day as if one day would give them their due. Rather we celebrate the day to remind us of what we owe them throughout the year. So we say: Behold Thy Mother. Behold Thy Heavenly Mother and behold thy earthly mother. During this month we crown the Blessed Virgin Mother of God with the Crown of Motherhood. Mystically and symbolically, with this same crown, we crown our own mothers and we say in the words of that beautiful hymn:
On this day, O beautiful Mother,
On this day we give thee our love;
Near thee, Madonna, fondly we hover,
Trusting thy gentle care to prove.
On this day we ask to share,
Dearest Mother thy sweet care;
Aid us e’re our feet a-stray,
Wand’ring from thy guiding way.
Fast our days of life we run,
Soon the night of death will come;
Tow’r of strength, in that dread hour,
Come, with all thy gentle pow’r.