53. Mother’s Day: The Celebration Behind the Celebration


It was a loud, public celebration of our sexual union … in church. That’s what dawned on me several years ago at the end of Mass when Father Ken asked my wife (and all the mothers present) to stand up on Mother’s Day to be acknowledged. As my wife rose to her feet, I whispered to her (with good humor and deep reverence – which, by the way, are not incompatible), The whole church is about to applaud the fact that you and I .… The applause interrupted before I could finish, but she knew where I was going with it.

I can hear the voices: Why would you want to draw attention to that!? Here’s my answer: to overcome the damage wrought by the contraceptive mentality.

The contraceptive mentality not only divorces sex from motherhood and fatherhood; it divorces motherhood and fatherhood from sex. Both directions of the separation are just as problematic and just as widespread. And that means we have to take conscious steps to reunite sex and parenthood / parenthood and sex in the way we think about both. In a fun-loving kind of way, that’s what I was doing.

I understand, of course, why Father Jones may not want to draw direct attention to the celebration behind the celebration, but this Sunday, it could be healing and helpful to remember what we are applauding when all the mothers stand up. When sex is lived as God intends – as the foundation of the family – it is something worth celebrating loudly and publicly.

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Ph0to from Wikimedia Commons.