Jesus said to his disciples:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
And I will ask the Father,
and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always,
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept,
because it neither sees nor knows him.
But you know him, because he remains with you,
and will be in you.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
In a little while the world will no longer see me,
but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father
and you are in me and I in you.
Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
This is a Gospel full of promises! First, Jesus promises to send us another Advocate, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. The world does not accept the Holy Spirit, as is made clear by the wars, devastations, violence, humanitarian crises and lies that abound across the globe. But we do recognize Him because He is in us. This is the promise of Baptism. At Baptism, we receive the life of the Trinity. God is in us. We are truly God-bearers, and that fact ought to inspire our actions in every moment of our lives. We carry within us the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. We are not imprisoned by the lies of this world, or by the father of lies (ie: the devil!).
Jesus also promises His continued presence with us. He will not abandon us or leave us orphans. He, too, lives in us. One of the most beautiful ways He is present to us in the Blessed Sacrament, where we have the wonderful gift of receiving His Real Presence within us as food for our journey.
Jesus is in the Father, and we are in Jesus, and Jesus is in us. St. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:14, “The love of Christ impels us.” Notice, he doesn’t say compels us, but impels us. To be compelled is be acted on by an outside force. Even if the force is good and it is compelling us to do good things, the point is, its origin is from outside of us. But when something impels us, the force comes from within us. The love of Christ is within us, impelling us to live a life that gives God glory, that reflects the Gospel, a life of love, patience, kindness, gentleness, etc. This is why Jesus says that whoever follows His commandments is the one who loves Him, because following Jesus’ command to live a life of love, a life that reflects the Gospel, a life that gives God glory is a life motivated by love of God.
It’s Mother’s Day, and I think of the love of a mother for her children. It’s not hard for a mother to love her children. A mother’s care for her child, bathing, feeding, clothing, teaching her child, is not a burden to her, but a labor of love. It’s not hard on her because she is motivated by love of her child. The same is with God. It’s not hard for God to love us because all God does is love. Even His justice is a measure of His love, as a mother’s disciplining her child is a measure of her love for her child. Just so, it ought not be hard for us to live Jesus’ commands because, if we love Him, we will want to do as He commands. St. Augustine of Hippo once said, “Love God, then do what you will.” Why? Because if we love God, we will want to do His will! Our will will be to do God’s will.
And the promise of Jesus is that, if we live His commandments, we will be given eternal life, a life that is to share in the very life of God.
Today is Mother’s Day, and we ought to take a moment to give thanks to our mothers who are still living, even as we pray for them, thank God for them, and pray for those who have passed into His loving arms. Our Blessed Mother, also, deserves a big thank you for her role in our salvation. Being a mother is no fool’s business.
Our culture today is on a campaign to extinguish motherhood, just as it is on a campaign to extinguish what it means to be a woman (and a man, for that matter). Phrases like, “birthing parent,” “chestfeeding parent,” or “people who can get pregnant” are directed toward debasing motherhood as a uniquely feminine vocation, just as is the claim that men can get pregnant because a woman with a child in her womb thinks she’s a man.
This campaign needs to be resisted at every point. Being a woman is a unique and God-given identity. Men who think they are women, or women who desire to placate the feelings of the mentally ill, ought not be given the power to expunge that identity or that unique vocation.
So, three cheers for women, and three more for mothers. Women have given birth to every human being on the face of the earth throughout all of history. That is not going to change, and we shouldn’t let those who demand we pretend otherwise win the day or the culture.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.