Our Mother's Day

08-14-2022Pastor's LetterFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree, There will be an answer, Let It Be….

-“Let it Be” by the Beatles”

We are the broken hearted who have found the answer. Most of us have had the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” pointed at us, and yet rather than remaining as victims we find the answer in faith. What we agree on even amid so much disagreement is that Jesus is the answer to our broken hearts and wounded souls.

Paul McCarthy, who wrote the lyrics to the song “Let it Be”, explained that the genesis of the song came at a time when the Beatles were fracturing, and their business was a mess. He said that he had a dream about his deceased mother, Mary, who was an Irish Catholic and she said to him (about his current dilemma) “Paul, just let it be”. Good motherly advice.

McCartney was often asked if the song had any religious meaning. McCartney always gave a rather good answer, saying: “I don’t tell people how to interpret my music or what meaning to find in my songs”. Songs, like poetry and art usually carry many levels of meaning, even meanings that the writer didn’t intend or even think of. Such is the thing we call inspiration.

And so, he wrote: “when I find myself in times of trouble mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom: let it be. And in my hour of darkness, she is standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom: let it be.”

I think that it is almost impossible for Catholics, when they hear those lyrics not to think about another mother Mary: the Mother of Jesus, the Great Mother of God. Maybe that’s not who McCarthy was writing about but that’s who comes to mind. How could it not? The Blessed Mother Mary is such a towering figure in our faith and the one who when we find ourselves not able to approach God, she is the one who we can go to in our need. Why? Because she had her own times of trouble and hour of darkness that makes her understand ours.

Whenever I hear stories of women in Afghanistan who are threatened with stoning, I think of how this same threat had to hang over Mary’s head. As the Scriptures tell us “Joseph wanted to divorce her quietly so as not to expose her to the Law”. Yet we never hear Mary protesting her innocence but just trusting that despite human fears, God’s will would be done. What hope she offers to those who face the fickleness of human forms of vengeance! And what strength she gives to those who face the unplanned or unanticipated curve balls that life throws at us!

But I think most of all she shows us that come what may, God can use the circumstances of our lives for some greater purpose. We just must remain faithful as Mary did to see it through.

It makes sense then that the Church celebrates Mary’s Assumption every August 15th. For us as Catholics, it’s another sort of Mother’s Day on which we recall the wisdom and tender love of our Mother. The Feast of the Assumption is critically important because it gives us the final picture of how things will ultimately turn out. The Church wants us to keep that vision in our sights so as not to lose hope and to push on no matter what.

Mary’s “Let it Be” gives us the courage and the wisdom to likewise surrender to God and offer our own “Let it Be”.

Love, Fr. John B.

PS This year, since August 15 is a Monday, while still a Holy Day, it is not a day of obligation. When Holy Days fall on Saturday or Monday, in the US, the obligation is dropped except for December 8 and December 25.