[It took a Southerner to say that correctly! Really!] You've been gifted with passing life to the next generation, with a husband (at-least for a time*) of your own-choosing!

Let's be thankful for at least that much that God has provided! [It is more than many people can ever experience.]

Now, since this "web greeting" is too short, let me try to paraphrase the homily I heard as a visitor yesterday (05/12/12) at Church by a Dominican priest in Charlottesville, VA.

It seems there once was a man from America and a woman from England who were introduced to each other by a close friend. Except: their only relationship was a correspondence by letters.

Now they wrote to each other for a period of years, and with each exchange, a love began to grow between them. Over time, they became closer and closer -- the man sending pictures of himself, and of his friends and family too.

Eventually, their fondness for each other grew to where they desired/decided they should meet.

In the last letter the man sent in anticipation of their meeting, he suddenly realized he had never received any photos and didn't know what this woman looked like! He wrote: "How will I recognize you at the airport?" In her hasty reply, the woman wrote back: "I'll be the one carrying the yellow rose..."

So, as the day came and the man waited at the "Arrival" gate with anticipation, the parade of passengers walked by. With each passing person his anticipation grew but he saw no one carrying any roses -- even less a yellow one! As the last stragglers coursed down the ramp from the flight, suddenly he spotted a woman carrying a yellow rose!

His heart sunk within him as he quickly studied the woman approaching. She was older and heavier than he had imagined – and, as many would probably agree – she had features that were plain and pale. Nonetheless, he stood straight and quieted his surprise as he rushed forward to finally embrace his "mystery" beloved! As he approached and tried to embrace the woman she pushed him away and said sternly: "Get away from me! What is wrong with you!"

The American, now shaken and completely aghast said impishly: "...but you are my beloved pen pal whom I've been expecting! You're carrying a yellow rose just like you said you would!" The woman, still keeping her distance from this strange and visibly-shaken man said: "I don't know you! Leave me alone and stay away! This rose was given to me by that lady over there!" As he turned from the woman to where she pointed, he saw approaching him the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen!"

After they met and embraced, his friend said in tears to him: “I had to be sure that you really loved me...that you wouldn’t just love me for my appearance! All my life people have treated me based upon how I look! This was the only way I could be certain that you would love me for who I truly am.”

[That's all that I can remember of the “story”.]

This Sunday's Gospel is about Christ's commandment to love others, as He has first-loved us!

9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 This I command you, to love one another.
John 15

[Again, (badly) paraphrasing the priest’s homily from memory...]

When we were un-useful and unlovely due to our sinfulness: Christ gave His life for us on the Cross!

The next time you see “the person carrying the yellow rose” – in their un-usefullness and in their unloveliness – remember Christ’s Commandment to love them. This is how He tests us to see if our love for Him is sincere! Christ tells us that this is how we will know if we are His friends! If we obey His Commandment to love each person we meet who “carries a yellow rose”!

This Mothers’ Day, as we celebrate the love of all mothers for their children, we see them catching the child eating food off of the floor, and then cleaning the one who has spilled their food all over their clothes in the high-chair! In all of their unloveliness and in their un-usefullness: Mothers give themselves unselfishly to their children! It is in their loving these little ones that we see reflected Our Lord’s Love for us on the Cross -- reflected in their actions as mothers!

I have a bad memory; I’ll stop here.

[“Forgive me father for badly-paraphrasing you (if you should read this.) I’m the one who congratulated you after Mass for this homily? I was the one wearing a yellow polo...”]

Spero columnist Gregory Lynn is a freelance writer who resides in Virginia.

* This was originally addressed to a group of divorced friends, abandoned by their spouses, remaining faithful to their vows.



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