Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day - a day we remember our moms by visiting and bringing gifts. Some of our mother's that have left this good earth a long time ago. Maybe we can make this a day of meditation and reflection on our true mother, The Blessed Virgin Mary. Jesus said to John, and to all of us - "Behold, your Mother." Yes, Mary is truly the Mother of us all.

This article is written by Jennifer Hartline, a contributing writer for Catholic-Online.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Mother. Wife. Homemaker. Maid. Cook. Chauffer. Nurse. Teacher. Corrections Officer. Party Planner. Maintenance Worker. Domestic Engineer. I’ve used all these titles, especially the more humorous ones, to describe myself and my job. My favorite moniker by far, though, is this one:

I’m a lifetime member of the QUEEN OF THE HOLY ORDINARY CLUB, established and approved by the King Himself, to be open to all women who have a home and a family they love and want to care for. “Be it known henceforth and forevermore that all who follow in the order of the QHO club shall be exceedingly and abundantly blessed, for the King has esteemed them and lavishly given them His own mother as their Queen.”

It’s hard to get excited about another load of laundry. It’s really hard to get pumped up about cleaning the bathroom again. I know the furniture needs dusting, but I just don’t have the slightest motivation to do it right now. I’m certain I washed the dirty dishes last night… how can the sink be full again already? My floor needs mopping. If someone needs a visual definition of clutter, just come on over to my house. Please try not to trip over the toys.

I’m a mother and a homemaker, and it isn’t glamorous. It’s tedious, monotonous, thankless, messy, germy, and it can be really hard on your manicure. It’s also the greatest job in the whole world.

Provided I stop looking to the world to validate and praise me for doing my job well, ‘cause they never will. People with ulterior motives may pay political lip service to mothers and the sacrifices they make for their families, but it’s just self-serving schmooze. I don’t need it.

I have the smile, the blessing of my Father in heaven, and I follow in some highly-favored footsteps. Before she was Queen of Heaven, she was the Queen of the Holy Ordinary.

I am awestruck by what our great God did for us and how He did it. It is truly what sets Christianity apart from every other religion. God could have chosen to take human flesh and come among us as a grown man, fully capable of taking care of Himself. But He didn’t. He came to us utterly helpless and vulnerable. He came to us the same way we have all come to be – through a mother.

By inhabiting the womb He proclaimed the honor and dignity of motherhood. By choosing to submit Himself to the care and authority of a mother, He put His indelible stamp of approval and merit on the vocation of motherhood. He declared it sacred and gave it the highest esteem and honor. In fact, He thought motherhood so important that He didn’t want to miss out on having one Himself.

In my admiration and wonderment of the Holy Family I often forget that the normal rhythms of earthly life still existed for Mary and for Jesus. The daily tasks of motherhood remained. This God-child depended on her for His survival. He required her milk for food. He needed her to keep Him clothed, warm and bathed. He needed her constant care. She set about raising Him the way every mother does, doing the same ordinary, everyday things that must be done. There was a home to be kept, laundry to do, food to cook, dishes to wash, even diapers to change. She did all of it, and let there never be any doubt ever again that all these ordinary things are holy in God’s sight.

It’s true for everyone – and perhaps especially true for homemakers – that our humble earthly tasks are instruments of holiness. Mary taught all of us something that is easy to forget when we feel invisible, tired, bored, or just buried in the monotonous mire: the task itself makes no difference. It is our willingness to serve that matters.

Mary was in the very unique position of serving God twice with the same action, since the child she was caring for was her God! But the same holiness is ours to touch today as mothers. The tasks may be mundane or thankless, or even smelly and gross, but the dignity of them all remains intact. The specific chores do not matter; only the love and humility with which I do them. I serve God by serving my family, and His grace inhabits all of my motherly duties.

The best days for me are those when I remember my membership in the QHO club, and when I say to the Lord, “Today I offer all my housecleaning up to You. I will serve my family the best I can knowing I am serving You.” Then as I go about my day, I load the dishwasher for Jesus. I clean the bathroom for Jesus. I fold the laundry for Jesus, and I do it carefully out of love for Him. Whatsoever I do for my family, I do for Him.

And an amazing thing happens…He lifts me up and pours out His grace on me. I feel the joy of doing my job well and knowing He is pleased. I’m still folding laundry and scrubbing toilets and washing dishes and mopping floors, but it isn’t drudgery. It’s the offering of my life given to Jesus with love and gratitude for all He’s given me.

I hope it makes Mary smile to see me strive to follow her excellent example. If my job was good enough for the Queen, it’s good enough for me.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the members of the Queen of the Holy Ordinary club. God bless you.

P.S. Mom, you’ve always been an outstanding member of the QHO club…I can’t thank you enough. I love you so much. I’m a very blessed daughter.


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