May 12 – Ascension of the Lord

I’ve known a lot of foolish people in my life; in particular, I’ve known many foolish women. I should probably rephrase that. I’ve known many women who have loved greatly. Have you ever noticed that from the outside looking in, those who love seem to act foolishly? We see an example of this in our faith, as the Apostles left everything behind because of their love for the Lord. And we also see this “foolishness” in our daily lives.  In my own vocation, I’ve had people ask me about choosing the celibate life of a priest, only seeing it as something that is foolish. Of course, my response is that it is not foolishness, but really a response to love, for the sake of the Lord and his people, and only possible with God’s grace to respond to the call.

As we celebrate mother’s day, and a month dedicated to our Blessed Mother, I thought I would honor the “foolish” women in my life who loved radically. To my Grandmother, who allowed her husband to move to the United States to work for two years before reuniting with their 4 children. To my mother, who was engaged to another man, called off the wedding the night before, only to accept my Dad’s proposal three weeks later. To my sister, who after being firmly established in her practice and field, found a man online, picked up her life, and moved across the country to follow her heart and started a family of her own. From the outside looking in, these actions may seem foolish, but if you know their stories, you can see how greatly these women loved!

I’ve also been lucky to know friends who have left everything to join religious communities: from my friend Sister Joshua Marie, who left Notre Dame her sophomore year (a sin to the Irish I’m sure) to pursue a life with the Missionaries of Charity (St. Mother Theresa’s order), to my friend Mother Marie Benedicta of the Cross, who after college decided to join the Carmelites in the Des Plaines cloister. (Meaning that she is never able to leave and is called to live a life of continual prayer) I look up to these women, and am grateful for their example of how to love.

As we crown our Blessed Mother this weekend and celebrate Mother’s Day, I think it is only fitting to honor those who have loved so greatly, that to the world it seems foolish.  May we be inspired by their “foolish” acts of love. May our Blessed Mother continue to bless us, guide us, and encourage us as we respond to her son, our Lord Jesus’ Christ and his beautiful call to bring the faith to all we meet. In the eyes of the world, our actions will look foolish but we know that it is all worth it because we are in love.   

Father Michael