In the Arms of the Woman I Love: The Power of a Mother's Love
Dear Parishioners and Supporters of Immaculate Conception Church,
Recently, as I was flipping through a photo album, I found a small, black-and-white picture of my mom and me. It brought back a lot of memories. I must have just finished fifth or sixth grade. My parents drove me in a yellow Soviet-Ukrainian Zaporozhets car to my first summer camps in Frombork, a beautiful town in northern Poland on the Baltic Sea known as a place where Copernicus lived and worked as both a bishop and an astronomer.
Still, I did not want to go there at all. Being away from home – for the first time by myself – and for two weeks at a summer camp, not knowing anyone there, was a frightening proposition that filled my timid teenage body with a feeling of pure dread. It was my mom who used her personal charm and persuasion to help me overcome my fear. She promised to visit me halfway through the summer camp. If I found it unbearable, she promised to take me back home. My mom kept her promise and traveled to see me. Her love and warmth bolstered my unsteady self-confidence and nudged me to persevere through it all.
Throughout my life, my mother’s unconditional love has been the wind beneath my wings. She was the first one who taught me how to pray to God. She also showed me, through her example, how to love and care for others. In the Gospel of Luke 12:48, we read: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”
I have been a beneficiary of my mom’s rich and boundless love. It is this unmerited gift that has empowered me to wrestle with God, face head-on my fear and timidity, and strive to help others in a struggle for charity, justice, peace, and care for our common home.
This weekend, I will be away in New Britain, CT. I wanted to visit my mom on Mother’s Day. She is aging and struggling with the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. Just as my mom visited me at my first summer camps to strengthen me in my tender, teenage years, I want to do my best to hold her hand as we walk through the neighborhood that is becoming less and less familiar to her, to reassure her that all will be well.
To honor my mom’s love, I have also joined over 600 faith leaders in our country who have signed onto a letter calling for Mother’s Day, May 14, 2023, to be a National Day of Repentance, mourning, prayer, and reflection to address the culture of gun violence that is staining the collective soul of our country. Every year, more than 43,000 people die by guns in the United States. There are so many mothers mourning their sons and daughters that are victims of violence. We must not allow gun manufacturers, the gun lobby, the politicians who kowtow to their interests, and a culture of gun worship to hold our country hostage.
I encourage you to learn more about this campaign, and add your name to it as a person of faith:
As we prepare to honor our mothers, living and deceased, let us express our gratitude for our physical and spiritual mothers who have loved us into being. One of the many ways to do that is by getting involved in the local efforts of Durham CAN, which includes the issue of gun violence prevention. You can read more about it at https://www.icdurham.org/community-organizing.html
Happy Mother’s Day!
-Fr. Jacek Orzechowski, OFM
-Fr. Jacek Orzechowski, OFM