A mother’s bounty

A mother’s bounty

I was very pleasantly surprised to find a good number of people gathered at my office chapel for the Eucharistic celebration of Mary Mother of the Church last Monday 20 May.

Before them, in the chapel, stood a statue of the mature Virgin Mary holding the wings of a dove with both hands while a church building façade rests on its back.

Immediately prior to Pentecost the 11 apostles “devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers” (Acts 1:14). This was the spiritual motherhood of Mary in action during Pentecost.
On 21 November 1964, the third session of Vatican II, St. Pope Paul VI declared Mary as “Mother of the Church”. The decree states that Mary is “Mother of the Church, that is to say of all Christian people, the faithful as well as the pastors, who call her the most loving Mother and established that ‘the Mother of God should be further honoured and invoked by the entire Christian people by this tenderest of titles.’”

It was only nearly 54 years later, on 11 February 2018, when Pope Francis declared a new obligatory memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Mother of the Church in the General Roman Calendar.

Mary’s motherly presence is needed in our splintered world dominated by the tyranny of relativism. Just as a mother of a family is repository of the family’s memory that keeps the family together, a heavenly mother, the Church’s most preeminent member, can do even much more. Mary’s matchless tenderness nurtures us spiritually and provides guidance to our endeavors.
During Mass, I reflected on the word “pag-apod-apod” (“to distribute”) as a motherly prerogative. Mary distributes God’s gifts by interceding for us. But don’t get me wrong: she distributes not from a situation of want but that of inexhaustible plenty. If only we know what to ask for.

We had our third run of Kaunting Pahinga from May 9-11 for 43 policemen from the 11 police stations of Cebu. An overwhelming sense of gratitude permeated their written, anonymous feedback.

I started visiting the KP graduates a week later and reached about four stations. An informal pagtimbaya (“greeting”) and mention of future possible gatherings sought to create an atmosphere of positive expectations.

Many KP participants experienced spiritual consolation as defined by St. Ignatius of Loyola in the Third Rule of his Spiritual Exercises. This leads them to make some resolution. However, “in time of desolation never make a change, but be firm and constaint in the proposals and determination in which one was the day preceding such desolation” since it is the “bad spirit” who brings about desolation (Fifth Rule).

This is a practical rule of thumb when gently reminding KP graduates to continue their journey.

Flores de Mayo activities coincided with the general clean-up of our parish. Concerned parishioners went all the way out to help. Thing had piled up through the years resulting from the “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” mentality.

Going back to the Mass for Mary Mother of the Church, “Misa” led to the “La mesa”. Two unexpected lechons awaited us.
How bountiful indeed is the motherly care of the Blessed Virgin Mary.