At this time of the year, signs of these annual celebrations are all around us and uppermost in our minds and hearts. Let’s take some time during the next month or so to reflect on a theme they have in common: Holy Communion, Marriage, Mothers Day and Fathers Day all involve demonstrations of love and contain signs that are gifts that express love and commitment.
• In marriage a man and a woman exchange wedding rings. Each receives a wedding ring from the other that is a sign of the spouse’s love and commitment. It is a gift given from one who loves. It is given with love and received with love. For all the days ahead this ring will be a sign of the giver’s love and commitment. Of course, as just about any married couple will tell you, they had no idea what that would entail nor that their understanding of the love they shared would grow over the years as their love would grow into such a deeper, richer love – far beyond anything they had imagined.
• In the weeks or days before Mothers Day and Fathers Day, the media remind us to celebrate the two people on which our lives and our well-being depend. It is a time to ponder and express to them, living and deceased, the deep appreciation, gratitude and love we bear for them. Often our words are accompanied by cards and gifts.
• As our children and those of our friends, family and parishioners receive their First Holy Communion, they and we are called to center our attention on the greatest love of all, Jesus’ gift of Himself to us in the Eucharist. As with the spouses in marriage, over the years our understanding of this gift and appreciation of the gift that the gift-giver grow.
In these four celebrations love is expressed by the giving of a gift. In them each gift-giver, the spouse, the son or daughter and Jesus is attempting in giving the gift to let the gift be a gifting of oneself to the other. In the Eucharist, the Gift-giver being God, the Gift and the Gift-Giver are one. This is the most perfect gift of all!
Let us be mindful of the gifts and gift-givers in our lives.
Sister Loretta Fernandez RSM