Mother's Day has always been special in our household. From the time when we were still in diapers up to today it holds a special place in our heart because it is a day reserved for two special people - one's earthly mom and our Heavenly Mom: the Blessed Mother of God, mother of us all.
One of the greatest gifts we were given growing up was a sincere respect for womanhood. This began with treating our mother in the most profound, gentle manner we could starting with total obedience to her as the heart of the family. Dad was the head of the family so naturally, just as our kids do today, we gravitated to Mom. It's only natural then that Catholics therefore gravitate to our Heavenly Mom. It is also that love, affection and respect for Blessed Mary that prompted us to respect the frail sex. This was, of course, before the womens libbers flooded the estrogen market with testosterone and masculated the masses of women the world over. No wonder Our Lady weeps. That, too, is something missing today - the word "lady" which represents one of the highest class and of the utmost morals. This editor still feels so blessed that he found the "lady of his dreams" when my bride Cyndi came into my life back in the first days of 1981. In fact, it was on Mother's Day that we said "I do" on May 10, 1981, a year notable for both the start of Mother Angelica's phenomenal and necessary Eternal Word Television Network and the beginning of the Medjugorje apparitions six weeks later.
In fact, it was at Medjugorje nine years later on May 10, 1990 that we both experienced our encounter with the Holy Spirit and a full conversion experience that would change our lives forever. We were blessed to have with us our spiritual director Father Al Svobodny, OMI who has continued to help us on our spiritual journey ever since as he celebrates this month his golden jubilee of 50 years as a priest. We will be doing a special tribute to this man of God in a few weeks, but for now this column is dedicated today to Mothers. It was at Medjugorje that we rekindled a relationship with the greatest Mother in the world and committed ourselves to her forever by saying "yes" to Our Lady. It helped give us an inkling of what His Holiness John Paul II intended when he dedicated his pontificate to Mary with his Totus Tuus motto. It helped give us a better understanding of what Wayne Weible meant when he said that it may take a while to say 'yes' to Our Lady but when you do, you're hooked. That is how we first heard about Medjugorje - through Wayne's first book "Medjugorje, the Message" in 1989. On June 1st his latest book will be released entitled "The Harvest" which brings the Medjugorje mission full circle in explaining what the Gospa - Our Lady - is asking.
Three years later we had our marriage blessed on our twelfth anniversary in one of the crypt chapels below St. Peter's Basilica in Rome by Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv. who had accompanied us along with Father Vince LeMoines to the eternal city on a special mission to give the rule and constitution of the Institute of Divine Mercy to the Holy Father through Cardinal William Baum's help. So you see, Cyndi has not only been the mother of our two sons Kevin Michael and Kellin Joseph but also of the new congregation of contemplative, cloistered nuns with houses in Texas and Puerto Rico. Actually, the term mother is not appropriate as the founder of the Institute of Divine Mercy for it is merely a fulfillment of what Our Lord asked of Blessed Faustina Kowalska in the 1930's. Cyndi was merely the facilitator, the midwife so to speak in helping the Institute receive full Church approval on May 23, 1995. Since that time her role has been, by and large, as a prayer warrior supporting the fledgling congregation through prayer.
It was less than a month after approval of the Institute that the messages to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart were completed on June 18, 1995 - the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. In that message Our Lord said to her "My little hidden flower knows full well the solemnity of this Feast. She knows full well that this is My last message given to all the world through her, for she now enters upon her final mission of love of Me."
And thus she embraced that mission which saw her more and more suffer as a victim soul, for the next four years. She suffered in many ways just as Jesus had foretold when he conveyed "Know that I desire to work in you in silence, that you shall suffer many crosses and that to you shall be given the triple martyrdom of body, mind and soul." Her name and reputation as a visionary, wife and mother were slandered terribly, yet she remained silent through it all. As one closest to her, this editor can attest to the great pain and suffering at being hurt by those whom she had thought were her friends, those she had trusted with her heart. Only in the final print issue of A Call To Peace did this editor finally speak out, clarifying the truth after much prayer and consultation with Fr. Al and the ministry's Board of Directors.
Through it all Cyndi remained silent and our love and marriage was tested greatly. Without a strong foundation in our faith and total trust in God's Will, our bond would have disintegrated under the stress of all that has occurred in the fashion of Job. But God has blessed us in accepting our crosses joyfully and having total faith in Him that whatever happens is for the best. All that has happened has been for the good and done in reparation for transgressions committed against God. It has also allowed Cyndi to return to her first duties - that of a mother. Both of our moms have been called home by God and so Cyndi is now the only bonafide mother on either side of our extended family. As mother she has been there for our boys who have struggled with the oxymorons of society and the paradoxes of striving to live God's Will and the narrow path we have shown them as opposed to the wide, easy road that society so temptingly offers with all the trappings and peer pressures. It's not easy growing up today. It's not easy being a parent today. Cyndi can attest to what countless other mothers would agree to, it's not easy being a mother today. She has experienced it all; from the painful miscarriages of Angel and Dawn to the exhiliaration of our boys' birth. She, like countless other mothers, has sat up all night with a sick child; withstood the excuses of why they didn't want to eat something or go to school on this day or that; and sought to soothe broken hearts when a supposed friend would turn on them. One of the toughest tasks for a mother has to be the fine line she walks in bringing a child through the gauntlet of childhood from the age of innocence to the exciting, but dangerous vistas of teenhood to the inevitable bulwark of adulthood and maturity without being scarred or tainted for life. It taint' easy, folks. Any mother can tell you that. But we all have a mother who not only understands all this, but has a special pipeline to the Lord. Another reason we have nothing to worry about because Mary is a good Jewish mother who is constantly reminding us of her Divine Son Jesus. Can't you just hear her saying, "Have I got a Son for you!" And so, on this Mother's Day weekend, we join Our Lord in wishing His mother a Happy Mother's Day and our own mothers and wives as well. After all, they are really moms to us as well because we all know they mother us whenever they can. And we all offer our heartfelt thanks to moms everywhere for whether it's our birth moms, our brides or the Blessed Mother, Mother's Day is a special day when mothers like to be mothered too!