Verbalize your evaluation of your mother, Father George

pieta st mary cathedral st cloud mn

Recently, a CIA guy asked this question: CIA: How do you evaluate your mother? I then gave a more detailed response here: Edge of deadly. Still alive. Thanks mom, NIH-Bethesda. And then I found the picture above of the hand-carved Pietà which, at least when I was a kid, was situated in a side niche chapel in the at-the-time beautiful but now long wreckovated crypt church of Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. This used to be a purposely-in-the-shadows mysterious just-lit-by-candles shrine with prei dieux surrounding the banks of candles. At least they left one prei dieu. I’m happy to see it’s well worn.

My best memory of mom is when – frequently, mind you – she would bring me, just a couple of years old, then three and four and five… when she would bring me down into those mysterious candle-lit shadows and we would kneel before Mother Mary holding her ever so dead Son, the Incarnate Word. She taught me how to light a candle. I would look on in wonder and awe at the majestic Mother of God holding Him… Jesus…

I would return here on my own when I knew a bit of Latin. Understanding what it meant, it was instantly ingrained in my mind in Latin, and re-echoed throughout my life quite continuously:

  • O vos omnes qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte si est dolor sicut dolor meus.
  • O you, all of you who pass by the way, be attentive and see whether there is a sorrow such as my sorrow.

That, of course, is from the Hebrew Scriptures, Lamentations 1:12, that is 1:ל. You know the inscription above, the abbreviation for the Latin, INRI, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. It’s a fuzzy picture, but there are also the beginning and ending letters of the Greek alphabet, the Alpha and Omega, you know, the First and the Last, He Who Is. And then there’s the more visible symbol of the Greek letters beginning the title Christ, that is, Messiah, the Anointed One, the Suffering Servant, the One who takes upon Himself all our transgressions, sins, standing in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, so as to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.

So, Mary beholds the sins of the world wrecked upon her Son. Could there be any sorrow like hers? And we kneel before Jesus in her arms, our hearts ripped out of our chests…

And my mom brought me here to introduce me to Jesus’ mom. What do you think I think of my mom? Can I verbalize it? Words fail me. Did Jesus love His mom? Could He, the Word Incarnate, Verbum Incarnatumverbalize that?

I’ll just light a candle, you know, something about the Light of the Nations, the Light shining in the darkness, and then say a prayer… Hail Mary…

4 Comments

Filed under Father Byers Autobiography

4 responses to “Verbalize your evaluation of your mother, Father George

  1. nancyv

    This is a wonderful example of humility (& truth) for me. Deo gratias.

  2. Your Mother introduced you to Our Mother and it was love at first sight.

  3. I used to think that if we lined up mothers according to their wonderfulness, my mom would be #2 after the Blessed Mother, now I think your mom and mine would be standing shoulder to shoulder in the #2 spot. May God bless both our moms.

  4. Aussie Mum

    What a very good mother was yours Father. We need more like her.

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