Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/12/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

This is the first Mothers Day I have faced without a mother on earth

On this Mother's Day I mourn the loss of my earthly mother Ellen and draw strength and hope in reflecting on Mary, the Mother of the Lord, my heavenly mother. I believe that hat the motherly love which my mother revealed so beautifully to me has now found its fulfillment. I know she is in the communion of love with the Mother of Jesus. I will offer a crown of roses to that dear mother by praying the prayer my mother taught me as soon as I could speak, the prayer we call the Rosary. Somehow, I know it will help to ease the sorrow and point me in the right direction, the triumph of love.

Mother working with her children

Mother working with her children

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/12/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Mothers day, mary, Mother, Rosary, Hail Mary, death, Moms day, Motherly Love, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - It is Mothers Day and our hearts and minds turn to the woman who gave us life and showed us the beauty of steadfast love throughout our entire lives. This is the first Mothers Day I have faced without a mother on earth. On Tuesday, March 4, 2013, my beloved mother Ellen died in her sleep. She had struggled for months as her aging body ran out of steam.  She never fully recovered from the loss of the love of her life, her husband and my father, Duval who died in 2001. She died the day after his birthday.

I remember her last question to me the day before when we spoke over the phone, "Keith, when can I go home?"  She barely had the strength to speak. Her body was unable to support her on legs which simply seemed unwilling to cooperate any longer. It was so hard to hear her ask me when she could go home. I knew she meant that the little cinder block house where she and my dad lived. The home where they raised Derek, my youngest brother who was born the year I left home. I also knew that was not the home to which she would go to when Love finally called her.

On the day before she died I told her on the phone that Laurine - my wife whom she loved as her own daughter - and I would be coming to visit with her again on Easter weekend. She took comfort in the thought. Sadly, I knew her short term memory was not working well. I hoped she would remember. I was able to pray with her over the phone. I will forever remember that precious experience. I looked forward to the opportunity to hug her again, kiss her, and pray with her in person as I had done at Christmas. 

Over Christmas, knowing she was nearing that final chapter of life, my whole extended family drove, from all over the country, to be with Ma, or Nana as the children and grandchildren called her. I did not know how physically depleted she had become in her last illness before that last visit. After all, she always had that reassuring and happy voice, accompanied by that wonderful breathy laugh, whenever we spoke on the phone.

When we commended her to the Lord and placed her next to my father in final repose, the grief I felt was only slightly relieved by the sure and certain faith I have in the triumph of Love and the final Resurrection. Yet, when I received the first of several well intended E mails this morning from friends encouraging me that she was in the presence of the Lord - which I believe with my whole heart-  I discovered that the emotions surrounding her loss are still just below the surface, only too eager to erupt again.

Grief and love are companions.  I often tell others in my work as a Deacon of the Catholic Church, that the depth of the grief is a sign of the depth of the love; another face of love. Today, I am speaking those words to myself. However, they do not take away the pain. They only help to soften the ground within which they must be planted in order to bear the fruit which all love bears. Jesus said it so simply, "unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. " (John 12:24) It will take much more time and care from the Lord to give this loss the growth. I am profoundly sad today and I know the sting of death.

A priest friend captured the mystery and beauty of motherhood so well for me in the days after Ma's death when he wrote "Dear Deacon, she will be remembered today and I will offer a Holy Mass for her soon. I know the sting; it is unique with mother, our life bearer." Mothers are life-bearers. I was privileged this morning to give my dear wife of 37 years, Laurine, a mother's day card. She is such a good mother and grandmother. As we grow old together, that face of love becomes all the more wondrous to me. I love to watch her smile when she embraces our five grown children and six grandchildren. She gives expression to that love which Mother's alone can bring to each of us. It is irreplaceable.

Motherhood is a unique gift from the Lord. Jesus had a mother. It is our mother who gave us life. It is the Mother of the Lord who continues to give us the gift of the One who is Himself the Way, the Truth and the Life. Each year as we express the gratitude we feel for our earthly mother, I am increasingly drawn to reflect on one of the last gifts the Lord gave to us before his total gift of Himself on the Cross, the gift of His mother to be our own. May is the month dedicated to Mary, the Mother of the Lord. This is no coincidence.

Jesus called her Mother. As one of his last and greatest gifts to his beloved disciple and to the entire Church, he entrusted her with these tender words recorded in the Gospel of John: When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, Woman, behold, your son. Then he said to the disciple, Behold, your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. (John 19:26, 27)

Mary was there at the Incarnation, Birth, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of God Incarnate. She was there throughout the often called hidden years in Nazareth. In the life of the Redeemer, every word and every act was redemptive, revealing the very life of God, the mystery of heaven touching earth, and the deeper purpose of our own lives. She was there in those moments whose impact is timeless. They are still as filled with the invitation of grace today as they were when they first occurred.

She was there on the great day of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, which we will soon celebrate. She was there as the first evangelizer and disciple who gave the first Christian testimony to her cousin, Elizabeth, and won the first convert in utero in the person of John the Baptist. This event, traditionally called The Visitation, is recorded in the Gospel of St. Luke (Luke l: 39-45).

This encounter immediately followed the visit of the Angel Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1:6-38) and is one of the fruits of her humble obedient response. That response was not a onetime reaction. It was the fruit of a life of surrendered love and stretched forward to characterize her whole life on this earth and her participation in the eternal communion of Saints.
Her Fiat ( Latin, let it be done) in response to the visitation from the messenger of heaven, the angel, provides a way to live for each one of us.

Mary said Yes to the invitation to love and she humbled herself. She confronted her own fears and she entered into a way of living. All of this in continued response to an original invitation of love, a gift, initiated by a loving God. Through this response, she assumed a lifestyle of receiving and giving, she became a fruitful woman, a God-bearer or Mother of God (which in Greek is Theo-tokos). She brought forth the Incarnate Word of God!  Her Yes, her humble surrender, reflects a trajectory of love and is a prototype of the vocation of every Christian to bear the fruit of surrendered love in their lives as well.

There is a way of life and love that all men and women are invited into - not just once, but daily. It is the path to authentic peace and the portal to the very mystery of life itself. It is what Christian Scripture calls the more excellent way, the way of love. Mary understood and walked this way with extraordinary humility. (1 Cor. 12:31) Mary, the mother of the Lord shows us the pattern of human love surrendered to God's Love and finding its fulfillment. She also shows us the love of a mother made perfect in Jesus Christ.

Is it any wonder that the early Christians painted her image in the catacombs during their moments of fear, persecution and doubt? They found great inspiration from this woman of great faith. In her yes they came to understand that ordinary people can change human history. They were inspired to add their own yes, their own fiat to hers.

Justin Martyr and other early Christian apologists found in her obedient yes to the angel, the undoing of the no - I will not serve - which had been given by the first woman Eve. They gave Mary such titles as The Second Eve, the mother of a new creation. In her womb she carried the One whom Scripture calls the New Adam. He was born from her as the first born of a new race of men and women who would find a new birth through His Life, Death and Resurrection. In Him we are all made capable of giving our Yes to God. Through Grace we find the fullness of freedom that brings.

On this Mother's Day I mourn the loss of my earthly mother Ellen and draw strength and hope in reflecting on Mary, the Mother of the Lord, my heavenly mother. I believe that hat the motherly love which my mother revealed so beautifully to me has now found its fulfillment. I know she is in the communion of love with the Mother of Jesus. I will offer a crown of roses to that dear mother by praying the prayer my mother taught me as soon as I could speak, the prayer we call the Rosary. Somehow, I know it will help to ease the sorrow and point me in the right direction, the triumph of love.

Happy Mother's Day.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More U.S.

Pope Francis names Bishop Blasť Cupich to replace ailing Chicago Archbishop Watch

Image of Ill from liver cancer, Cardinal George said at a news conference in Chicago that

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has chosen Spokane Bishop Blase Cupich as Chicago's new archbishop. The ailing Cardinal Francis George welcomed his pending retirement after his 17 years of service, with only the highest praise for his successor. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


World population could hit 11 billion by 2100 new study reveals Watch

Image of Africa will see the largest population boom, going from 1 billion to 4 billion by the century's end. Asia will also likely rise a bit, but will peak at 5 billion by 2050 and decline.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A United Nations-led analysis published on September 18 has revealed that the world's population may reach 11 billion by 2100, which would mean two billion more people than previously expected, largely due to high birth rates in Africa. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


As death toll passes 2,600 U.S. lawmakers worry about spread of Ebola Watch

Image of Red Cross workers in Guinea in protective gear. Currently, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are the worst nations worst hit by the West African Ebola outbreak.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Legislators in Washington are becoming increasingly concerned about the spread of Ebola and worry that it could become more contagious and potentially spread into the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - President Obama's new plan to put 3,000 U.S. ... continue reading


Obama gains support from House to further fight against ISIS Watch

Image of President Obama, with the support of the House of Representatives, may now start arming and training Syrian groups to fight the Islamic State, and will continue to strike targets in Iraq.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While President Barack Obama told Americans-in somewhat ambiguous terms-last week that he intended to destroy the Islamic State, as of September 17, he promised that the United States will not fight another ground war in Iraq. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Values Voters: What We Can Learn from Ted Cruz Being Booed at the In Defense of Christians Conference Watch

Image of Senator Ted Cruz from Texas was the keynote speaker at what was billed as a Gala Solidarity Dinner. Sadly, it certainly did not demonstrate solidarity between Christians. A small group in the assembly, rudely and loudly, reacted negatively to some of the words Senator Cruz spoke as he expressed his convictions concerning the persecution taking place in this land which is properly holy, precisely because of its role in God's loving plan of salvation for the whole human race.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The events of Wednesday, September 10, 2014, at the Inaugural In Defense of Christians Gala make abundantly clear that there is a serious and urgent need for values voters to meet and discuss the crisis in the Mideast and ways in which we can work together to ... continue reading


Our Age Need Rebels of Love: The Christian Church is the Real Counterculture Watch

Image of As a young man I rejected secularist, atheistic humanism - but not humanism itself. As I studied the early Church fathers I came to understand that the true humanism is authentic Christianity, the kind professed, in word and deed, by the early Christians. As I read early Church history I was brought back to the mother church of the entire Christian movement, the Catholic Church. I came to believe that she offers the theological anthropology, ecclesiology and world view of the early fathers of the Church. I also came to believe that she was the real counterculture.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

We can - we will - change the culture of the contemporary West, if we are willing to suffer, struggle and offer ourselves to the Lord for the task. His power, the power of the Holy Spirit, working through us, will accomplish what we can never accomplish on our ... continue reading


What is a Catholic Deacon? Bishop Kevin Rhoades Gives the Answer Watch

Image of The Most Reverend Kevin Rhoades, the Bishop of the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, presiding over the Mass of Ordination to the Diaconate of six new Holy Cross Deacons

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

It is a privilege to ordain you permanent deacons.  No, I didn't make a mistake.  Don't worry: you are scheduled to be ordained priests next year by Bishop Jenky!  But what happens today in the sacrament of Orders is not something transitional; it ... continue reading


ISIS among us! New York man sought to kill Iraq war veterans Watch

Image of Mufid Elfgeeh, a 30-year-old, Yemeni born man who lived in New York, attempted to send three people to Iraq to fight for the Islamic State, and purchase firearms to kill veterans from the Iraq War.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Yemeni born food store owner in upstate New York sent funding to the Islamic State and attempted to sent three jihadists to Syria to fight alongside the terrorist cell while plotting to perpetrate attacks against American troops who had served in Iraq. LOS ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone: 16433 Children Buried in One Grave Watch

Image of Fr. Pavone prays at the graveside of the children

By Fr. Frank Pavone

For many years, this mass grave had no marker or headstone, just as the children have no names. But now there is a stone, and we are going to name the babies. Supporters of abortion do not want people to see mass graves in our midst. It's too disturbing a ... continue reading


Nice try! Democrats try to distance themselves from Obama for midterm, but it's too late! Watch

Image of Kentucky Senate candidate, Alison Grimes, seen here with a shotgun in an ad where she attempts to distance herself from the disastrous and unpopular policies of President Barack Obama.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Democratic Senate candidate, Alison Grimes, is trying her best to let Kentuckians know that she is certainly not an Obama Democrat, releasing a campaign ad where she wields a gun to prove it. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Grimes' 30-second ad takes place in ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Proverbs 3:27-34
27 Refuse no kindness to those who have a right to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 15:2-3, 3-4, 5
2 Whoever lives blamelessly, who acts uprightly, who ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 8:16-18
16 'No one lights a lamp to cover it with a bowl or ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Thomas of Villanueva
September 22: Augustinian bishop. Born at Fuentellana, Castile, Spain, he was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter