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Home Is Where Your Mother Is

by Father Jürgen Liias

I visited my mother’s grave today for Mother’s Day. She died in June 2011. Six months later I decided to become a Catholic and seek ordination as a Catholic Priest, God willing and the Pope willing (only the Pope can authorize the ordination of a married man.) After 40 years of serving as an Episcopal priest, I retired and made application to be ordained a Catholic priest through a special provision for married men who had been Priests in some branch of the Anglican Church.

April 23 was the 7th anniversary of my Ordination to the Catholic priesthood by Cardinal O’Malley. A few of you might have heard me quip in a homily that when my mother, a very devout Protestant Christian, arrived in heaven, she met the Virgin Mother for the first time. As they spoke of their first-born sons, as mothers are known to do, they concocted a scheme to make me a Catholic Priest. And, as at the wedding of Cana, what a mother wants a mother gets.

In the economy of Grace, my mother gave her son, that is me, to Mary to be her son. Every priest is in a very unique way a son of Mary because we are an alter Christus, another Christ, and Mary is thus, in a very profound mystical way every priest’s Mother.

On the other hand, with the death of my mother, Jesus, the Lord of the Resurrection, gave me His mother, both personally in MARY, His mother and corporately, in the CHURCH, our mother.

One of the most distinctive experiences of my first years as a Catholic was this overwhelming sense of the maternal nature of the church. I felt so at home; so warmly embraced by mother church. And even though I profoundly missed and grieved the death of my own mother, I somehow felt that I had been embraced by a richer, fuller mystery of maternity which did not replace my mother but brought her significance and her love to a heightened spiritual perfection.

My dear brothers and sisters of Christ, fellow children of Mary our mother,
Thank you for welcoming me these last few years into the family of St. Patrick’s church. Thank you for the privilege of being a priest among you. How deeply I miss feeding you with the Word of God and the Bread of Life in this strange time of pandemic disconnection. But, remember, in this month of May, in this month of Mary, in this season of Pandemic,

“Mother Mary come to us
speaking words of Wisdom
let it be”

Mother Mary, Mother Church, give us your Son Jesus. He is the medicine of immortality. He is the peace that passes all understanding. He is the Way, the truth and the Life.

And Jesus as we put all our faith and trust in you, give us your mother. We are lost beleaguered frightened children in this time of chaos, confusion, and crisis. But we are safe and secure in the arms of your mother, our mother.
She is your most special gift to us in this terrible time.

SALVE REGINAMary and Jesus

Hail holy queen
Mother of mercy
Our life, our sweetness, and our hope
To you do we cry
Poor banished children of eve
To you do we send up our sighs
Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears
Turn then o most gracious advocate
Your eyes of mercy toward us
And after this our exile show unto us
The blessed fruit of your womb Jesus
O clement o loving o sweet virgin Mary

(Posted May 21, 2020)