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A Mother's Love

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You can never repay a mother’s love.

While it may not occur as often as we would like, there are some homilies we never forget. For me, one of these homilies was given by Fr. Ken Omernick, pastor of St. Charles in Hartland. His opening words were: You can never repay a mother’s love.

It’s true, our mothers do so much for us that it is impossible to repay them. They give us life itself, nurture and raise us, support us, perhaps most importantly, worry for us and give us a glimpse of what unconditional love is.

That is why when I heard from Fr. Ken that I could never repay my mother for her love, a lightbulb went on in my head. Because I had been trying to repay her, I bought gifts, dinners, flowers, chocolate, all trying to repay the debt, to get even, but nothing I did ever seemed to bring me closer to that goal of repaying my mother for her love.

Mothers provide a revelation and experience of God no other person can provide: being loved by someone unconditionally and whose love I did not earn or deserve, but is freely given. A love that cannot be paid back. Mothers in a unique way give us the love of God. In this mother-child relationship they prepare us to receive the unconditional love of God himself, which can also never be repaid. Mothers prepare us for relationship with God.

Which is why it is fitting to celebrate Mother’s Day in the month of May which is dedicated to our heavenly mother Mary. Sadly, some of us may not have had a mother as we would have hoped. A broken world will have broken mothers, if we never experience the unconditional love of a mother, we will never fully receive the unconditional love of God. We will spend our life trying to repay, to get even with God. Our relationship with Him will always be transactional.

So God gives us a mother, his very own, Mary. Who loves us as only a mother can do, unconditionally, without our deserving of it. That is why Mary is so important in our Faith and in our life, she prepares us for God. The more we grow in our relationship with Mary and our love for her, the more she will lead us closer to God. Mary provides us the unconditional love of a mother we may not have had in our own life.

This is the love we celebrate this weekend. Whether we receive this love from our biological mother or our spiritual mother, the love is same. A love that is life giving, nurturing, supportive, sacrificial, unconditional, and maybe even with a touch of worry, in short, we celebrate a mother’s love, a love that can never be repaid.


Wake Up

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This weekend begins one of my favorite weeks of the Church year—Holy Week. The week that is set apart from every other week, for that is what the word “Holy” means, set apart. We take a week to recall the suffering and death of Christ so that on Easter Sunday, we can celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus and the hope of a new life in heaven for each of us. This weekend’s Gospel walks us through the whole account of Jesus’ suffering and death. As I wrote this reflection, I wasn’t sure what I could say that Jesus didn’t already say through His action of suffering and dying. He literally is showing us just how much He loves us. But as I pondered this account of God’s love for humanity, I was struck by a small detail in the Agony in the Garden that I had never noticed. Before Jesus begins His journey, He seeks the solitude of prayer in the garden. He takes Peter, James, and John with Him and then retreats to pray. He then returns three times only to find the apostles asleep. This threefold sleep that we see the apostles taking struck me for the first time because only a short while later, we see Peter deny Jesus three times.

While numbers do play a huge role in biblical history, the reason that the threefold sleep of the apostles struck me is because every time that I reflect upon the passion of Christ, I am caught by Peter’s threefold denial. Peter, who claims that his faith will never be shaken, denies Jesus three times. The seemingly insignificant mention of the threefold sleep of the Apostles is important because the early Church Fathers enlighten us to the fact that this sleep, that Jesus is calling Peter to awaken from, is not bodily sleep by spiritual sleep. His faithfulness to Christ will be tested and Jesus is calling Peter to wake up and be strong against the temptations. We know that Peter does end up falling into temptation and denying Jesus, however, this denial does not lead to death, but to life, as later, after the Resurrection, we see that Peter has the chance to affirm His love for Jesus three times.

As we begin the most sacred week of the year, Jesus is calling us to wake up spiritually, to not succumb to temptations, to not be unfaithful. Jesus walked this path of suffering so that we might know His love, His mercy, and His faithfulness to us. Let us take this week, especially Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, to walk this journey with Jesus. Come sit with Him in the silent garden after Mass on Holy Thursday, let Him strengthen your hearts against temptation. Then come kneel with Mary and John at the foot of the Cross on Good Friday as Jesus died for you, and lastly, come rejoice on Easter as we proclaim with joyous hope that JESUS CHRIST has risen! 

in Prayer

Budget Time with God

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Budget season has begun at St. Dominic. Department leaders, Finance Council, and the budget team engage in six weeks of discussion to determine how we invest your generous gifts to do what God has asked us all to do; go forth and make disciples. You can be assured we value and appreciate every dollar entrusted to us. We focus on our three strategic imperatives which are: forming and equipping disciples, a robust student ministry, and keeping Catholic education affordable.

We have many budgets in our lives. Budgets at work, family finances, and budgets of our time. We use a calendar for appointments, shuttling children, date nights, and gatherings to name a few. Wall calendars, color coded boards on the fridge, post-it notes, and phones are tools of the trade. I tell my wife, “if it isn’t in my phone, it doesn’t exist”.

The other day I looked at my Outlook calendar and knew something was missing. What have I not placed on it? Then it struck me. While I spend time in prayer, and have various roles at Mass on my calendar, I really haven’t budgeted time for God. It wasn’t in my phone. Did it not exist? Easy fix, create an appointment, make it repeat daily, and title it “spend time with God.” For me it is not a set time. Rather, it is a reminder every time I look at my calendar to do something about it.

As we approach Lent, add “time with God” to your calendar. Check in daily. Make Him exist in your life. We are ever thankful that Good Friday and Easter were on God’s calendar. Where would we be if He missed His appointed time? The least we can do is budget some time for Him.

Praying we all have a Blessed Lent.


Posted by Michael Ricci
Tags: prayer, god, time

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