When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river…


THE MOTHER LETTING GO is a mythical theme common to humanity irrespective of time or place. Danu, of the flowing waters, Queen of the fertile land, the Great Mother Goddess of the ancient Celts, Don, Dana or Ana in Welsh, the Creator Goddess of the Tuatha De Danann, the first known Celtic tribes of Ireland, is seen putting her baby into the marsh river in the picture above. The legend of St Cenydd’s mother on the Loughor bank vaguely echoes it. Our readings today give us the Hebrew story of Miriam and her baby Moses and St Luke’s poetic verses about the pain of the mother who, though blessed with the birth of her son Jesus, will ultimately be unable to protect him or keep him. Jesus is her son but she does not possess him and she will have to let him go, even many times until finally she must watch him die on a cross.
This Mothering Sunday falls on the first Sunday after burying my own mum at Ilston, the church llan of my youth and of her Christ-loving, human heart. I am doing my best to let her go, and I know, counter intuitively, that the letting go sets her free to be everywhere for me. I feel it and I know it but still completely letting go doesn’t come easy. Letting go comes only from the deepest, unconditional, God-like love.
And now I remember the tears of my darling mother in the days before I set off aged 17 to ‘become a man,’ with a guitar, a few pounds, a one-way bus ticket to a champagne grape-picking field in France and then a hitch-hiker’s instinct to who knows where. Tears which must have burned her face, a letting go that I know pierced her own soul…
Mam i fi, diolch yn fawr. Dw i’n garu ti bob amser x

~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on March 10, 2018.

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