My tribute blog to my 88 year old mother has prompted so many tender responses from all over the country, that i feel i must add another note. i mean, just consider the impact of this little tiny lady, easily compared to a stick of dynamite! One responder was a priest who “confessed” that many times, when he was near the limit of his strength and thinking he could go more, it was the faith of my mom, “his mom too,” that cheered him on. This means that so much of what he accomplished – she did it, too!
It all takes me back to 1968, when i left my mother to go into the world. i left her that summer with two images burned into my being. One was that of a pool of water (like Andy Griffith and Opie’s), holding a ripple made by a tiny pebble. Despite two deaths that had devastated our nation, that of JFK and MLK, the 60s were still such a Time of HOPE! Just as this Pope of Hope can have the NOIVE to journey into the poor and devastated lands of Africa, call “Muslims and Christians Brothers and Sisters,” and declare this age the AGE OF HOPE!!
The perfect explanation for such Hope can be found in the words of our “Man of Hope in 1968,” the man who never stopped believing in the overwhelming GOODNESS of HUMANITY and that the GREAT GOOD would win in the end mostly because of little tiny pebble-deeds that created many waves against all the bad. That was Robert Francis Kennedy, whose darling mother, Rose, swore, “We’ll never see the likes of him again.” But here he is again in Francis the Pope.
So much of what Bobby said was behind my decision to enter a seminary that summer – to see what i could do, if i put my mind and heart to it, for a very sick country and a rather “hopeless” world. i was all signed up and ready to go, WHEN IT HAPPENED.
Even more than the ripple image, forever branded in my soul is the Masterpiece of Bill Epperidge, Bobby’s photographer. i’m probably not allowed to post this, but i’ll take a gamble:
Another Pool, this time of blood – of BOBBY – ready to even offer his life to the Great Hope! For me it sealed my decision to go and make a ripple or two myself.
Yesterday i posted a tribute to my momma, who was so proud of her Cheerleading abilities in high school – and so humble as not to recognize that she had given her whole life to the task. Her Faith and her every tiny deed of selfless love lifted up more people than she could ever count on the playing field of the world. She treated so many of the “wounded in the field hospital,” which Pope Francis finally came to call our Church. There she is – there IT IS again, the Ripple of my Mother, as every one that she cheered along in turn passed faith and hope and love – GOOD CHEER – to countless others. Jack, Martin, Bobby, Francis, AND MIDGIE!! All bent on doing a little something good for God…and then just letting go, letting it roll wherever it would, content to be nothing. Mother Teresa, tinier even than my mom (i saw her face to face) lived “to shrink,” i.e. to be less and less herself, that others – and the God in Others – be more and more!
My mother was eating in one of her favorite restaurants recently, and lo! and behold! who else is there but the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden. Mom told him how he went to the same grammar school as her kids. He held and kissed her hand – and thanked her (knowing Joe, it was with his own gratitude and the thanks of a grateful nation, as he often tells this same sweet story of the CHEERY RIPPLES of our great mothers.) She was tickled! So…..
How nice my handwriting was in ’68! lol.