In between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is the Solemnity of Pentecost. It’s a happy coincidence that in between mother and father is the Holy Spirit “that gives life” (John 6:63). Joseph gets May 1, but Mary gets the entire month which includes May 1. Perhaps this is how wives are to be “subordinate” to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22). Yes, Joseph leads, but it is to give himself entirely to Mary. Joseph would want nothing other than an entire month dedicated to his bride!
It is within this relationship that Life comes into the world and establishes His Church to bring all of creation to Himself. The family is the first community that comes from the eternal community of love. The miniature, domestic Church is the “first and vital cell of society (Familiaris Consortio, 42).” It is within these smallest “cells” that all life finds structure and function.
Father Paul Taylor, O.S.B., the President of Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania frequently recalls his mother’s guidance in raising a good family, “Love them. Feed them. And want them around.” This simple formula points to the importance of mothers in creating the right conditions for growth.
The “mother” Church symbolizes the form of the matrix (derived from the Latin word mater, meaning mother) which is given life by God and made fruitful by the Spirit. A “matrix”, then, is an intentionally conceived environment of cells in which something originates and develops. It is a motherly environment that encourages formation, development, and/or growth-specific, continuous effort that takes place within a family. This matrix seeks to produce disciples with the understanding that true disciples find their home through a common mother in faith. We spring forth from our parents, families, and Church into the world. The Church maneuvers each individual cell of the matrix while being held together and sustained by the Holy Spirit.
This time of year lends itself to planting and gardening. It is time to plant seeds and cultivate sprouts from small plants to large flourishing plants. It is a process of maturation and matriculation that leads to a life of abundance (John 10:10).
As a young boy myself, I remember watching Super Bowl highlights on VHS over and over. One iconic moment, that for whatever reason, I remember clearly is a line from Hank Stram, Head Coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. Pacing the sidelines, he instructs his team to “keep matriculating the ball down the field.” His words simply meant to advance the ball down the field, but in light of the above, matriculate, more than advance, means to enroll as a member of the Body of Christ. Keep matriculating into Christ’s Body, the Church. Be informed, seek formation and transformation to conform yourself to Christ who is the “way and the truth and the life (John 14:6).”
The life we desire comes from the Spirit through Mary who brings us to Life, to her Son over and over through her intercession and devotion to her children. She points us, her children, to her Son Jesus who loves us, feeds us, and brings us to the intimacy of eternal life and love. The development of the human person must always be dynamic, that is, moving, growing, and changing, and never static or hardened. We must perpetually matriculate into the life God has created us to live. Let us begin by continually asking the Blessed Mother for her help and guidance.