Behind the flowers and sentiment, Mother’s Day is very hard for a lot of people – perhaps it’s the most difficult holiday out there for people in pain.
Over the years, American sentimental pop culture creeps into the peripheries of liturgical observance, and quite often, here we are at Mass on the second Sunday of May, with the expectation that the Moms present must be honored.
I mean…I went to the trouble to go to Mass for the first time in four months to make her happy…you’d better honor her….
This is problematic, however, and it’s also one of those situations in which the celebrant often feels that he just can’t win. No matter what he does, someone will be angry with him, be hurt, or feel excluded.
Because behind the flowers and sentiment, Mother’s Day is very hard for a lot of people – perhaps it’s the most difficult holiday out there for people in pain.
So when Father invites all the moms present to stand for their blessing at the end of Mass and the congregation applauds….who is hurting?
- Infertile couples
- Post-abortive women
- Post-miscarriage women
- Women whose children have died
- People who have been abused by their mothers
- People with terrible mothers, even short of outright abuse
- Women who have placed children for adoption
- People who’ve recently lost their mothers. Or not so recently.
Women who are not now and might never be biological or adoptive mothers and who wonder about that and are not sure about how they feel about it.
And then there are those of us who value our role as mothers, but who really think Mother’s Day is lame.
( I was talking to my oldest (40) the other day and he said, “When’s Mother’s Day?” “This Sunday,” I responded. “Okay, don’t worry, I won’t call you.” “Good. Thanks.”)
So inviting Mothers to stand up, be blessed and applauding them (the worst) at Mass might be, yes, fraught.
It’s not that people should expect to be sheltered from the consequences of their choices and all that life has handed them when the enter the church doorway.
The Catholic way is the opposite of that – after all, the fundamental question every one of us carries is that of death, and every time we enter a Catholic church we are hit with that truth, sometimes more than life-sized.
What should a priest (or deacon) do? Read the rest.