I am grateful for the love of my mother
The most important gift I received from my mother was the gift of love. She loved me, and demonstrated her love for me throughout my childhood. She also showed me how to love others, and that ability to be open to love, and to demonstrate love, eventually allowed me to love God.
It was from my mother that I discovered that God was not simply there as a cosmic problem solver, or gift giver, but was, like her, One Who loved me. God, like my mother, first loved me, and the lessons of love that I learned from her enabled me to be open to the love of God.
In turn, the gift of love that came from my mother allowed me to see God not as my own private possession, but rather a loving God I wanted to share with others. Much of my desire to become a priest was built upon the foundation of love of Christ instilled in me through my mother’s own love of the Saviour, and her willingness to be in service to others.
It was also from my mother that I learned the importance of overlooking the bad behavior of others. When strife and divisions occurred in our extended family, or even in our neighborhood, my mom would demonstrate the importance of forgiving everyone, and not taking sides.
With her Norwegian roots (she was related to the Norwegian Royal Family), and her love of classical music (she was a much respected piano and organ teacher, even winning the National Piano Teacher of the Year award), this beautify lady was humble and kind to everyone. When I served her Orthodox funeral, many of her former students attended, and shared their fond memories of this brilliant music teacher.
Many of my cousins have related how much they looked forward to spending a week or two during the summer at our family home on the lake in Sandpoint, Idaho, where music filled the air, and my mom’s great cooking filled the bellies of happy kids.
Together with my father, Albert, who was himself an accomplished golf pro, I was raised knowing that I was loved and accepted by my parents, and I see much of who I am today as a reflection of the two of them. They both loved God, and ended their final years as Orthodox Christians. They continued to love and respect others, regardless of their status in the community.
Once when my dad overheard me bragging to a high school friend about my mom’s link to royalty, and my father’s Scottish aristocratic heritage (I inherited his family crest), I was told that what really mattered was what kind of man I’d become. “If you don’t become a kind, humble, loving, and generous man, no amount of aristocratic roots will mean a thing”, he told me.
I am forever grateful to God for having gifted me with such wonderful, loving parents. Even though I am 72 years old, I still miss them both, and feel like an orphan, for their loss.
Love in Christ,
Happy Mother’s Day to all those who are moms, and to whose who love and serve others like moms.
Photo: On this Mothers Day, I remember with great fondness my beloved mother, Dolores Parsons (Elisabeth in Orthodoxy) 2008+. Memory eternal, O Lord, grant unto Thy servant Elisabeth.
Sunday May 13, 2018 / April 30, 2018
Sixth Sunday of Pascha: The Blind Man. Tone five.
Holy Apostle James, the brother of St. John the Theologian (44).
Uncovering of the relics (1558) of St. Nicetas, bishop of Novgorod (1108).
St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov), Bishop of the Caucasus and Stavropol (1867).
St. Donatus, bishop of Euroea in Epirus (387).
Uncovering of the relics of Hieromartyr Basil, bishop of Amasea (322).
Martyr Maximus of Ephesus.
New Martyr Argyra of Prussa (1725).
Venerable Clement the Hymnographer, abbot of the Studion (9th c.).
Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “Of the Passion”.
Translation of the relics of Venerable Sabbas, abbot of Zvenigorod Monastery.
St. Erconwald, bishop of London ( 693) (Celtic & British).
Martyrs Eutropius and Estelle of Saintes (3rd. c.) (Gaul).
Sts. Quintian and Atticus (Greek).
The Scripture Readings
Mary Magdalene Sees the Risen Lord
11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).
17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.
Paul and Silas Imprisoned
16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days.
But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. 19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.
20 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; 21 and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.” 22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
The Philippian Jailer Saved
25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”
29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.
A Man Born Blind Receives Sight
9 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. 7 And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.
8 Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?”
9 Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.”
He said, “I am he.”
10 Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”
11 He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.”
12 Then they said to him, “Where is He?”
He said, “I do not know.”
The Pharisees Excommunicate the Healed Man
13 They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. 14 Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.”
16 Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.”
Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.
17 They said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”
18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. 19 And they asked them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?”
20 His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
24 So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.”
25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”
26 Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”
27 He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?”
28 Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.”
30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”
34 They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” And they cast him out.
True Vision and True Blindness
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”
36 He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”
37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.”
38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.