CHRISTOS ANESTI! With a spiritual edifying Holy Week, culminating with glorious Resurrection of our Lord, I have been asked what is my favorite service? It is difficult to answer the question since all the services have their unique feature, whether it is the entrance of the Nymphios, the Bridegroom Christ; the procession of the Cross in a dark church, emotionally moved hearing the words, “Simeron cremate epi xilou…”; the procession of the entombed Christ, the beautifully decorated Kouvouklion with the Epitaphios into the darkness of the night or receiving the light of Christ and announcing that He is Risen! For me, it is hearing the most intimate feelings of the Panagia during the Egkomia, pouring out her broken heart, like only a mother can express. We sing out these Lamentations in support of her. As we honor her by singing out the Lamentations, we are reminded this year that in a week we honor our own mothers on Mother’s Day.
Sunday, May 14th is an important day! It is important because anything that lives and breathes in this world came to life by a mother. Motherhood, the American flag and apple pie are three things known for their stability and national appeal. Unfortunately, today, the price of apples is inflated, the flag mistreated and even motherhood is abused. I dedicate these words to all the mothers and mothers to be, with much respect and appreciation.
Down through the ages, mothers have been a stabilizing factor in the shaping of history and have positively influenced their children. Our society, more than ever, needs mothers of character, mothers who will nurture their children in the ways of God. The successful mother is the key to the successful home.
Let us look at the example of motherhood, the mother who was always quietly and supportively at her son’s side, the Panagia, and at the end of His life; He leaves her in the best of care, to the Apostle and Evangelist John, who we commemorate today. From her we learn that…
Mother means love…A love that is so wide as is her heart; a love that that is so different than the love of a brother, sister, father or friend; a love she gives, to all her children equally and yet each feels as though they have all her love and a love which is given without asking for a reward or recognition. In fact, one of the seeds I plant in the fertile mind of the sculptor, who created the Statue of Liberty, in “Libertaire, the Play”, in which I portrayed his mentor, concerned the concept of mother. “Is not the greatest love in the world, that which is between a mother and her child? A mother’s love is unconditional, she gives freely, with no expectations. A love beyond price!” The Statue of Liberty was the creation of a son honoring his mother’s love.
Mother means a life-long commitment, endurance…From the time she feels life, the life which hides within her, to the time of her passing away, she is always a mother, because her service never stops and the privilege of motherhood remains even after the death of her child. The miracle Jesus performed when He raises the child of the widowed mother of Nain. No one can remove a mother from being a mother, nor can neither time nor distance separate a mother from being a mother. Whether a child is young or old, single or married, the warm encompassing arms of a mother’s love are always there for them.
Mother means sacrifice…A mother sacrifices for her child whether they are good or bad. Her vocabulary only has the words of giving, serving and sacrificing. She gives of herself for the welfare and progress of her child. She prays for her child; always her child is remembered in prayer. A mother’s heart will truly desire the best welfare of her child with be a mother with a prayerful heart, full of love endurance and sacrifice.
My beloved mothers, you cannot boast of having built great churches and cathedrals, but you have built something more significant, you have built a dwelling place for the immortal soul of your children. Not even the angels have been blessed with such grace, because no angel can share in God’s creative miracle to bring new beings into heaven. Only human mothers, like you, have been given that privileged grace. You are, according to Greek culture, the queen of the household and according to our faith, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ elevates motherhood to the second most important figure when we state “He came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man.” Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creation. What on God’s earth is more glorious than to be a mother! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!