Tuesday 17th July 2018

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

The Gift That Cannot Be Refused

May 13, 2018 Featured Today No Comments

By DONALD DeMARCO

Anna Jarvis inaugurated Mother’s Day in 1908 when she held a memorial for her mother at St. Andrew’s Church in Grafton, W.Va. Through her persistent efforts, by 1911 all states in the union observed Mother’s Day. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day to be celebrated each year on the second Sunday of May as a national holiday to honor all mothers.
As the foundress of Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis insisted on two things that reflected her proper concern for motherhood. The first is that Mother’s Day should be known in the singular possessive form and not in its more generalized form as Mothers’ Day. In this regard, we might say, she was an existentialist rather than an essentialist. A person has a personal relationship with one’s mother. His attitude toward motherhood in general is cerebral.
Secondly, she wanted Mother’s Day to provide an occasion for eliciting expressions of personal love for one’s mother. She became resentful of how commercialized Mother’s Day had quickly become. True to her inspiration, she encouraged people to honor their mothers through handwritten letters rather than by presenting them with pre-made cards they had purchased at a store.
Anna Jarvis was a person of strong passion as well as keen insight. One day, when she noticed that a department store was offering a “Mother’s Day Salad,” she ordered it and promptly threw it on the floor and stomped out. She feared that commercialism was destroying Mother’s Day.
I hope that in the following meditation, I have been faithful to the spirit of Mother’s Day that was envisioned by Anna Jarvis. While commercialism is inevitable, affection and honor remain essential. Motherhood is based on a relationship, not a transaction.
Perhaps more has been written about motherhood than on any other subject. Given the dignity and importance of motherhood, this is both understandable and justifiable. Nonetheless, more will continue to be written about motherhood because its depth can never be exhausted. And Mother’s Day will continue to inspire family members to express love for their mother.
The eminent theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar opens the third volume of his book, Explorations in Theology with the following intriguing sentence: “The little child awakens to self-consciousness through being addressed by the love of his mother.” From a biological point of view, the child’s parents account for his existence. But the child’s awareness that he is a unique self, von Balthasar explains, is the work of the mother.
How does she do this? If we may borrow the “I-Thou” terminology of Martin Buber, the mother is the “Thou” who, through her tender love, awakens the “I” of the child to self-consciousness. The child becomes aware that he is a partner in a love-to-love relationship. The mother’s love elicits a response which is the child’s love. The child’s response is spontaneous. He does not consider whether to respond to his mother’s love with love or something else.
His response is antecedent to any reflection. His core nature as a being of love, one created by a loving God, is touched. His response is a pure indication of his nature. He responds with love because his mother’s gift of love is not something that he can refuse. Just as the sun entices green growth, the mother’s love summons forth the child’s love, thus completing the “I-Thou” bond.
But there is something far more profound that occurs in the mother-child relationship. As von Balthasar states, the mother’s love is delivered as a “lightning flash of the origin with a ray so brilliant and whole that it also includes a disclosure of God.” This helps to explain what St. John Paul meant when he remarked that “an ounce of mother is worth a ton of priests.” God has an “I-Thou” relationship with man.
However, the adult response to God’s love usually requires reflection and decision-making. Yet the early loving response of the child to his mother’s love is something that the adult can build on. Along with mother’s milk, the mother is awakening in her child a sense of God.
The child interprets his mother’s smiling and her whole gift of self as coming from another, thereby distinguishing the “Thou” of the mother from the “I” of the child. In this way, the love-to-love bond is achieved. The child responds to his mother’s love with love of his own, thus awakening him to the realization, however dim, that he is made to love. This is a moment that is central and sacred to human beings. It is their origin and starting point. It is more fundamentally humanizing than any other human relationship.
A British poet by the name of Anne Ridler (1912-2001), who at one time served as a secretary for T.S. Eliot, authored 11 volumes of poetry over a 50-year span. A mother to two sons and as many daughters, she has penned a number of poems that reveal her own acute sensitivity to the mother-child relationship. In Choosing a Name, she beautifully expresses the mother-child relationship to which von Balthasar alludes, where generous love embraces receptive child:

Frail vessel, launched with a shawl for sail,
Whose guiding spirit keeps his needle-quivering
Poise between trust and terror,
And stares amazed to find himself alive;
This is the means by which you say I am.

As Mrs. Ridler implies, love summons “trust,” whereas its absence suggests “terror.” Motherhood is the gift of self that summons a loving response that requires no deliberation but comes straight from the heart. It is an example and prototype that we can never exhaust, but must continually honor. It may be easier to understand the greatness of motherhood in the mother-child relationship. Nevertheless, motherhood plants an indelible seal of all mothers. It is an identity that time cannot either wither or efface.
(Dr. Donald DeMarco is a senior fellow with Human Life International. His latest book, posted on amazon.com, is Why I Am Pro-Life and Not Politically Correct.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter Elects New Superior General

LINCOLN, Neb. — The general chapter of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a society of apostolic life that celebrates the extraordinary form of the Roman rite, Monday elected Father Andrzej Komorowski as its next superior general. The July 9…Continue Reading

Catholic-heavy Supreme Court moves right as the church moves left

(RNS) — With his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, President Trump has succeeded in doing for the judicial branch what he has often failed or neglected to do in his administration: acting efficiently…Continue Reading

Election of the Superior General . . . Society of Saint Pius X

Election of the Superior General On July 11, 2018, Father Davide Pagliarani was elected Superior General, for a mandate of 12 years, by the 4th General Chapter of the Society of Saint Pius X. The new Superior General is 47…Continue Reading

Paradoxes and indicators of Capella’s and McCarrick’s cases

These days we will find out whether Monsignor Carlo Alberto Capella, the former advisor to the Washington nunciature that the Vatican sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for possession and distribution of “large quantities” of child pornography, will present an appeal…Continue Reading

Diocese led by pro-gay bishop says it’s ‘up to each parish’ whether to promote homosexuality

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic church in the heart of Appalachia has attracted media attention for the Gay Pride Month banner stretched across its front lawn. The local ordinary, Bishop John Stowe, has a record of collaborating with a…Continue Reading

Al Gore: Pope Francis a ‘moral force’ for solving climate crisis

(Vatican.news) Nobel Peace Prize Winner and former U.S. Vice President, Al Gore, is one of the world’s most vocal defenders of the environment. His 2007 documentary film, “An Inconvenient Truth”, won an Oscar and his Climate Reality Project recently hosted…Continue Reading

Catholic bishops heading to border to tackle family separation issues

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — A delegation of Catholic bishops from across the country are heading to the border on Monday. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will lead the delegation in its visit to the…Continue Reading

Catholic Church teaching on homosexuality ‘evil’, McAleese says

The Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality is “evil”, former president Mary McAleese has said. Speaking ahead of her inaugural participation in the Dublin Pride event on Saturday, where she will march with her son Justin and his husband, the former…Continue Reading

Senate Will Vote Before Elections on Replacing Pro-Abortion Justice Anthony Kennedy

The United States Senate will vote before the elections this November on a replacement for pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made that announcement today shortly after the surprising but welcome announcement that the longtime abortion…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider respond to Pope Francis’ inflight intercommunion comments

ROME, June 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The reception of Holy Communion in the Catholic Church — even in exceptional cases — by a Protestant or other non-Catholic constitutes a “lie” that betrays the Apostolic tradition and the Church’s constant practice…Continue Reading

German Bishops Publish Intercommunion Handout with a Rhetorical Trick

Today, the German bishops have published their very controversial pastoral handout which allows Protestant spouses of Catholics, in certain cases, to receive Holy Communion. Since Pope Francis, on 21 June, objected to a national bishops’ conference publishing such an official text, the…Continue Reading

Vikings host ‘LGBTQ summit’ to promote ‘inclusion’ in sports

EAGAN, Minnesota, June 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Minnesota Vikings are hosting a conference and fundraiser today for “LGBTQ inclusion in sports,” the first of its kind in the National Football League (NFL). The event will include speeches, interviews, and…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

British pro-lifers say abortion clinic ‘buffer zones’ harm women and children

London, England, Jul 12, 2018 / 12:49 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- After a decision from the United Kingdom’s High Court, two women are attempting to overturn a ban on prayer and public discussion of abortion near a British abortion clinic. On July 2, the High Court of England and Wales upheld a “buffer zone” imposed by Ealing Council, west London, around a Marie Stopes abortion clinic. The zone prevents any pro-life gathering or speech, inc

Calligraphers face jail time for not promoting same-sex ‘weddings’

PHOENIX, Arizona, July 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Two Arizona calligraphy artists faced with fines and jail time for declining to take part in promoting gay “weddings” are asking the state’s Supreme Court to hear their challenge to the city of Phoenix’s law that compels them create artwork that violates their religious beliefs. Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib Studio, face up to six months in jail, $2,500 in fines, and three

Bishop Paprocki disagrees with US bishops’ support for unions that fund abortion, LGBT

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, July 11, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – Hailed by free speech and religious liberty advocates alike, the United States Supreme Court recently ruled that public sector employees can no longer be required to pay mandatory fees to support unions which promote causes and political activities – including abortion – to which they are opposed. The ruling has also exposed a significant rift among the nation’s Catholic bishops. Despite public sector unions’ unabashe

Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Brett Kavanaugh is Donald Trump’s choice to succeed the pro-abortion, pro-gay Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court, the president announced Monday night. Trump praised Kavanaugh’s committment to “equal justice under the law” and called him a “brilliant jurist with a clear and effective writing style.” He is “universally regarded as…one of the finest legal minds of our time.” Kavanaugh formerly clerked for Kennedy. “Justice Kennedy devoted his career to…Continue Reading

Prof fired by Catholic university for defending marriage has huge court win

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin, July 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The professor forced out by a Jesuit-run Catholic university for blogging about an undergrad student being assailed by his teacher for his having voiced defense of marriage has won in court. In a landmark decision Friday the Wisconsin Supreme Court said Marquette University violated John McAdams’ right to free speech when it suspended him for writing the blog post, and it ordered the University to restore McAdams immediately with his full rank,…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

A Book Review… What Man Does Not Reverence, He Will Profane

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN Society and Sanity, by Frank Sheed (Ignatius Press: San Francisco, 2013), 261 pp. $17.95. Available from www.ignatius.com or at 1-800-651-1531. This new edition of Sheed’s 1953 classic work of apologetics brings to mind the famous myth of Procrustes’ bed. The wicked king captures his victims then tortures them if their legs do…Continue Reading

How Vice Can Absorb Virtue

By DONALD DeMARCO Just as the Devil is at war with God, so too, vices are at war with virtue. The Devil wants people to believe that God does not exist. He also wants people to believe that neither does virtue exist. He would like to demolish virtue. One way of achieving this is to…Continue Reading

Henan, China… New Limits Imposed On The Religious Freedom Of Catholics

BEIJING (AsiaNews) — The Chinese government is approving increasingly restrictive measures against Catholics in the central province of Henan. As Eglises d’Asie reports, five new rules have been imposed which include the requirement of religious working in the province to collect data and information on their faithful. A priest from the Diocese of Zhengzhou reports…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Solzhenitsyn Remembered

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Congdon, Lee. Solzhenitsyn: The Historical-Spiritual Destinies of Russia and the West. DeKalb, Ill.: NIV Press, 2017; 163 pp. This book is descriptive of the prophetic voice of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), who was convinced that the West has set out on a road similar to that which “led Russia into the abyss.” Solzhenitsyn…Continue Reading

Where’s #MeToo For Women Killed By Botched Abortions?

By REY FLORES Women who die from botched abortions will never have the ability to do anything anymore, let alone use some stupid, trendy #MeToo hashtag on social media. Who speaks out against the abuse and death inflicted on women through abortion? Why aren’t the militant, pro-abortion feminists decrying one of the most heinous of…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World . . . In Death The Church Gives Everything

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Funerals, as many priests have learned, can often be pastorally challenging and problematic episodes. Grieving family members who are not dealing with death on a regular basis by practicing their faith are suddenly confronted with its reality upon the passing of a parent or other family member. Parents who have to bury a child sometimes…Continue Reading

Martin Luther… The Man And The Myth

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 2 (Editor’s Note: As this October marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Raymond de Souza is taking a break from his usual apologetics to correct the popular image of Luther.) + + + In the last article, I quoted from…Continue Reading

The Anatomy Of A Moral Act

By DON FIER Last week, as we considered the role that human freedom plays in the economy of salvation, it was immediately acknowledged that “man’s freedom is limited and fallible” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1739). Free will, so wondrously bestowed upon man as an essential element of his great dignity of being created “in the image and…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. What can one say to a teenage daughter or granddaughter who wears skimpy bathing suits? I know that is the “style” these days, but it seems wrong for many reasons. — M.M., Virginia. A. When our five daughters were teens, my wife and I ruled out the wearing of skimpy bathing suits, as well as skin-tight jeans or shorts…Continue Reading

The Fourth Prophecy Of Humanae Vitae… When Self-Mastery Is Rejected

By FR. SHENAN BOQUET (Editor’s Note: Human Life International, which Fr. Shenan Boquet heads, first published this commentary on Humanae Vitae and LifeSiteNews reprinted it on July 2. Visit hli.org to read Fr. Boquet’s full series.) + + + “Birth Control is a name given to a succession of different expedients by which it is possible to filch the pleasure…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Veronica Giuliani

By CAROLE BRESLIN In July, the month of the Precious Blood, the Catholic Church remembers saints by the name of Veronica. On July 12, the memorial of Veronica (meaning “true image”), the saint from the first century who presented her veil to wipe the face of Jesus, is celebrated. Three days before that, on July 9, St. Veronica Giuliani is…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord had a special love for the poor when He walked this earth. At one time He rebuked one of the apostles, saying, “The poor you will always have with you” (Matt. 26:11). Rather than avoiding the destitute or shun the homeless, Christians are called to love them as we love ourselves. At the beginning of…Continue Reading