Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 3, 1999
The quiet power of mothers
'If you love me then keep my commandments' - mom
By TED ARMSTRONG
Special to the WCR
A teacher was introducing science to her second grade class in a lesson on magnetism. How magnets react to different metals. She passed a couple of horseshoe magnets around the class to let the children see how they worked.
The next day in a written test to check their comprehension of the topics taught that week, she included the question: "My full name has six letters. The first one is M and I pick up things. What am I?"
When the test papers were turned in, the teacher was first astonished and then amused to find that almost half of the students answered the question with the word "Mother."
On May 9 we celebrate Mothers' Day.
Mothers play a vital role in our being what we are. "A child is the reflection of its mother" is one saying.
A Jewish proverb says, "God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers." And in Spain, a very Catholic country, a further proverb reads "An ounce of mother is worth a ton of priest."
Mothers are quite powerful and use some devious strategies. One said, "When my son was six he forgot how to dress and brush his teeth, so I said I wouldn't let him be seven. He got things together real quick!"
Another shares, "When my son says he is going to run away, I always ask if I can go with him." And finally a real low blow, one mother admitted, "I bake spinach into their cookies!"
Mothers remind us how much we react as parents. Remember, "You'll put your eye out with that thing" and "Make sure you have clean underwear. You may be in an accident and have to go to hospital."
Haven't you said things like that to your kids? If you haven't, be sure one day you will.
But it is all done with love. It surrounds everything a mother does. It's unremitting, it's unconditional. It is exactly as God's love.
"If you love me then keep my commandments," Jesus says. "If you do, I will love you and my Father will also love you."
It's the way a mother thinks too. "If you love me, keep your room clean." "If you love me, don't drink and drive." "If you love me, don't do drugs."
Your mother's love and God's love is ongoing no matter what. You can abuse it, ignore it, belittle it, reject it or even act against it, but it never wavers.
Mothers and God are both resilient. They will take all the knocks you can give and still come back loving you. The are like the pink Energizer Rabbit. They just keep on going and going.
When we think of mothers and God it's not a huge step to think of Jesus and his mother Mary. We know how he was born and how he died but what about the rest of their family life. There are incidents - one when Jesus was left in the Temple and another when he attended the marriage feast in Cana.
Apart from these we are left to wonder how he was brought up. When did he learn to walk, cut his first tooth, say his first word? No doubt with Mary's guidance and love.
She knew him to be special, but we see his upbringing as other small boys of his time.
I think it is illustrated in the feast at Cana. They ran short of wine and Mary approached Jesus to see what he could do about it. Here he says something which has bothered me for years, but perhaps I look at it in today's context.
He says, "Woman, my hour has not yet come." The term "woman" seems hard to our ears when speaking of one's mother.
In our modern terms it would probably be, "Oh, mother, not now!" But I'm sure Mary walked away quietly smiling to herself and the rest, as we say, is history. There was more wine and of better quality.
I'm sure he acted in love of his mother. He did what she asked. Her request was not "Do it because I ask you," but more "If you do what I ask, it shows how much you love me."
We make an odd trio, God, our mothers and us. We complement each other. We want all the love we can get. They have the capacity to love us unconditionally without looking for a return.
All God asks is we keep his commandments. Commandments which would bring us the very happiness which we keep seeking and which we feel eludes us.
God's commandments lead us to the borders of the state of mind where the love of others is natural. He said, "Love one another as I have loved you."
Later after washing the disciples' feet he repeated it, "As I have done for you so you also should do." Our mothers' love may not appear to hang on keeping her commandments. She wants what is best for her children and if her love can make them honest and God-fearing then that is the reward she seeks.
We have talked of God, of mothers and children and appear to neglect fathers. Another saying brings them into our reflection. "The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother."