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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Today is Mother's Day.

Not in the Hallmark way or even the original intent of the holiday in America, but in the Church year. It is Laetare Sunday, which is similar to Gaudete Sunday in Advent. Kind of a break in the fast, a glimmer of what is to come that shines through. Laetare is the first word of the mass in Latin:

Laetare Jerusalem: et conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam: gaudete cum laetitia, qui in tristitia fuistis: ut exsultetis, et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestrae.

Be joyful, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation.

You can probably already see why this day is also known as Mothering Sunday. The traditional epistle is Galatians 4:22-31.

For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, the son of the free woman through promise. Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written,

"Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and shout, you who are not in travail; for the children of the desolate one are many more than the children of her that is married."

Now we, brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now. But what does the scripture say? "Cast out the slave and her son; for the son of the slave shall not inherit with the son of the free woman." So, brethren, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

The Church has always been seen as Mother to the children of God. It is natural to commemorate motherhood on this day, but natural mothers have traditionally been remembered with flowers and cakes as well.

I didn't get any flowers today, but we worked more in the garden. We have gone a little crazy with the garden. I will post another day about how many plants and how many varieties we are growing. Let me give you a hint: 24 kinds of tomatoes. We really like tomatoes.

The children also surprised me by getting themselves ready for bed after dinner without any prompting, including one (who will remain nameless to protect the guilty) who normally is the last to be ready who was the first tonight! That was a great Mother's Day gift to me.

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