How to make a person? Start with a mother . . .

Medical studies have revealed so much about our physical make-up, social scientists are discovering the hidden impulses for human behavior. Even human consciousness has been traced in part to a chemical reaction between the receptors in our brain.

For all of that, science has been unable to fully understand what a human being is. Human beings are a mystery. Every other creature can be explained and understood by virtue of its function, namely to live and reproduce. That’s it. “Gee another minnow, there’s another robin. Big deal.” To exist is enough. There is no identity crisis for a toad.

That’s not the way it is with humans. To exist is not enough. We need to have at our core a “reason for living”. Our brain seeks to understand what its thinking is ultimately about. Science can’t give us that. The reason is, part of our existence is spiritual. Science doesn’t have the tools to examine things spiritual.

The spiritual component of us humans is what makes us a “person”. (The classic definition of person is “a creature possessing reason and will”.) The human being has enormous gifts to look out and understand the world all around. He can understand everything but himself!! We are a mystery to ourselves (Who am I? Why am I here?).

And, guess what? We don’t have the answer to who we are because our meaning lies outside ourselves. Humans are the one creature whose meaning and purpose resides in relationship to the Other . . . to God, in whose image we were created.

As if that’s not enough, these thinking humans come in two forms: male and female. Each of them add to the mystery of the human creature. Today, Mothers Day, we honor women in a special way.

What does she bring to the world by virtue of her womanliness? Her motherliness? She and she alone is a “person creator”. Her husband helps start the process of course but, only mother can put our bodies together in such a way that we can live our life here on earth.

Given this, can we not see how a woman inherently holds the preciousness of life? She sees every person as some woman’s child. As she brings a person safely into the world, so now she constantly searches for what will bring that life to full stature and yes, happiness.

This “Nurturer of Life” is in every woman not just biological mothers. Her heart beats for others in a way that makes a life of kindness and gentleness a reality. In my opinion, it is what has conquered the sometimes violent heart of men and civilized the world. Do you remember the women of North and Southern Ireland (their men be-ing mortal enemies) coming together in 1988 to seek peace so their children would have a life free of violence and fear? A mother’s heart has conquered the fierceness of the IRA and brought peace to a country wracked by hatred and prejudice.

Thank you Woman, Mother, Mystery. God bless you always.

Fr. Tim