Daily Thought For March 22, 2019

Her Favorite Child

      Some of the best homilies I've heard were preached by a priest in campus ministry. He drew skillfully from his experiences of growing up in a large Irish Catholic family to both entertain and instruct us. We were captivated when he spoke because his stories always revealed something of God and the nature of His love. 
     Even now I vividly remember the story he told us about his mother. Having had nine children, she knew well the joys and challenges of motherhood. One day while she was ironing, a neighbor dropped in for a cup of tea. As usual, the conversation turned to the children. 
     "I don't know how you manage with such a large family and so many demands on you," commented her neighbor. Then lowering her voice the neighbor asked, "Come on, you can tell me. Which child is your favorite? There must be one who is easier than the rest. Surely there is one you love more than the others." 
     Listening from another room, the priest said he was anxious to hear his mother's answer. Certainly every child cherishes a secret hope that he or she is the favorite. At first his mother shook her head, refusing to answer. Then she protested that she had no favorites. She loved them all. But her friend was persistent. Finally she put down the iron and began her confession. 
     "Yes it's true. I do have a favorite. It's my oldest son looking for a job; he's my favorite. It's my daughter without a date for the prom; she's my favorite. And it's my son who's failing math; he's my favorite. It's my ten year old baseball player who didn't make the team; he's my favorite. It's my little one with the broken arm; she's my favorite. And on and on, his mother named each of her nine children with the particular reason why he or she was her favorite. 
     Instead of enumerating the talents and good qualities of each child, she spoke of their needs and suffering which called forth from her a special care and concern. With the tenderness and compassion of her mother's heart she embraced each and everyone of the nine as her "favorite child. " 
     God's love for us is like that mother's love for her children. Should it surprise us that it's not our gifts, our talents or our successes that endear us to our God? But rather, it is our weakness, our need, our brokenness that makes each one of us His favorite. The more we need His mercy and His compassion, the more He gives Himself to us. With what confidence can we approach a God whose love for us is greater than that of any earthly parent. 
     St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, tells us that "the good God is more tender than a mother." And 
     God's word assures that this is true. The Lord says, "Can a mother forget her infant; be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even if she should forget, I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name" (Is 49:15-16). 
The Lord knows us. He loves us. He will never forget us. We are precious to Him. Our names are carved into the palms of His nail-pierced hands. He died and rose that we might live forever in heaven. That's really Good News! 

      As we celebrate Mother's Day this month, we rejoice in the compassionate and tender love which mothers bear toward their children in need. Let's also rejoice in the source of that compassionate, tender love - the heart of God! 

from More of God — Inspirational Selections from the Notebook Column by Patti Gallagher Mansfield pp. 77-79

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