Motherhood, Raising Children of God

It’s that time again! The time we shop, I mean stop… stop for a moment and thank our moms, and allow our families to thank us. It can be a sentimental day, a simple holy day of thanks and awareness… a day where family comes together and rejoices in the grace that God has given us to take part in creation in a way that makes us aware of His unending love for us.

True Motherhood

Like love and marriage, motherhood is hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it. Whether you gave birth and cared for your child, gave birth and offered your child for adoption or accepted the awesome responsibility to care for a child, you know that words could never convey the intensity that is motherhood. Even if you conceived a child but weren’t able to give birth, you know the awesomeness that carrying another soul in your womb means. You also know that no gift could ever compare in value to thank you enough because in your heart you know that motherhood in itself is a gift you are thankful for.

Saint Anna and the Virgin Mary

There are two women who can truly understand the grace and sacrifice of motherhood.  Saint Anna and her daughter, the Virgin Mary.   According to the tradition of the Church, Saint Anna was barren, and she remained without a child until old age.  In her desperation to be a mother, they prayed to God, promising that if He were to grant them a child, they would offer their offspring to Him as a gift.  This gift to God ended up being a gift for us because it was her daughter, Mary, who was raised in the Temple and who accepted God’s desire for her to carry the Christ, the incarnate Son of God.

And in Mary’s offering, she also offered her son, God’s Son, to be crucified and suffer a public death on the cross so that through death we might have eternal life.

Imagine for a moment how it felt to raise a child knowing He wasn’t yours to keep.  Anna gave up Mary.   Mary gave up Jesus.

But isn’t this what we are doing?   Aren’t we raising children that are God’s, and not ours to keep?  Are we not also caretakers of children of God?  We raise them, keep them safe, give them tools, teach them to be thankful only to let them go and live their lives, fulfill their calling.

What is Motherhood?

I want to share a quote from the St. Anna’s Retreat in Dumont, CO because I think it defines motherhood best. The plaque is mounted near a mosaic icon of St. Anna embracing her daughter, the Virgin Mary.

In this beautiful world, there is nothing more cherished, no duty more honorable, no responsibility more sacred, no task more difficult, than that of Motherhood.

I hope these are words of comfort and encouragement for the moms who are feeling weighed down by the many responsibilities of keeping everyone on track, fed, dressed, clean and loved… and in church on time.  It truly is an impossible job description, but the most important than any other in the world. Thankfully we have two Superstar moms in Saint Anna, and the Mary the Mother of God, to pray to and to ask for their intercession.

And a special thanks to my mom, who set me on a path and let me go to live it.  Thanks, mom.  I appreciate you more than you could ever know.

 

 

 

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Christ is Risen! (One Last Time)

This is it! After forty days of celebrating our Lord’s resurrection, this is the last week to joyfully proclaim the Good News!   Christ is Risen!   He has conquered death by death, granting life to those in the tombs and opening the doors of paradise to all.

Ascension is this Thursday.

And Ascension marks the Leave-taking of the Paschal Season, forty days after Jesus’ Resurrection, when He continued to teach and instruct His Disciples on God’s desires and plan for humanity.  (Luke 24: 45-54)

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

The Ascension of Jesus

50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple,praising God.

Things you might notice in church after Ascension

  • We’ve stopped singing Christ is Rise, (Before Liturgy begins, at the Small Entrance, after Communion, and at the very end.)
  • The priest is not holding a candle.
  • We go back to singing “More Honorable than the Cherubim” after the Consecration of the Gifts.
  • The priest might be wearing a different color although any of the “bright colors” are an option outside of Lent.

Quick little trivia… Ascension is always on a Thursday.   Forty days after a Sunday is always a Thursday.  🙂 

Waiting for Pentecost and the Holy Spirit

One thing that wont change is the kneeling part.  We will continue to stand during the Consecration of the Gifts until the Kneeling Prayers that are read during Pentecost.

Worship protocol calls for us to always stand for the Consecration on Sundays  because Sunday is always a Day of the Resurrection.   But historically and for practicing purposes, most Greek Orthodox churches kneel for the consecration.

Yes, it seems people have stopped kneeling in personal prayer and no longer attend weekday Liturgies… so if we didn’t kneel on Sundays, when would we learn to kneel in prayer?  When would we experience this important posture in prayer?  This is why kneeling is permitted on Sundays while acknowledging it is not the best option.

So there it is!   You have 5 more days to sing Christ is Risen.  Then it goes back into the Treasure Box of Traditions until next year.  But don’t start kneeling on Sundays until the Kneeling Prayers on Pentecost- 50 days after Jesus’ Resurrection.

It’s not too late to send a card proclaiming the God News!