Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Post Mother's Day and a Pentecost Greening

Soon it will be Pentecost Sunday ~ fifty days after Easter. The priest will wear red vestments and the flowers, altar dressing and sanctuary decorations will be red, a reminder of the spirit-flame which descended upon the disciples gathered in the upper room. But the Christian East has another insightwhere everything is green. 

Here in this picture, the Romanian sacristan is spreading a meadow of green grass around the church. Westerners might think it's untidy and kind of wild. But maybe that's the idea. Spirit-seized, we're living in God's garden. In the Spirit, everything is new, creative things and a greening of humanity can happen.

And this green-Pentecost follows last Sunday's Mother's Day which was originally conceived by pacifist Mothers who collected their voices to proclaim, after the unspeakable ruin and blood-spill of the Civil War, that they would no longer hand over their children to war's slaughter. They also found it particularly shameful and galling that the soldiers who fought each other in the Civil War (north and south) were Christians.

Anne Jarvis liked the idea, asking President Woodrow Wilson to declare the day a national holiday. But she was soon filled with regrets, witnessing the day's deformation into a commercialized excuse for the sale of candy, flowers, cards and dining out. Indeed, so grieved at the loss of the day's original quality and invitation, she spent the rest of her life attempting to reverse the decision.

So: Mother's Day and a Green-Pentecost. We seem to be involved in endless war, or talking about war, advising others in how to fight their wars, supporting wars, preparing for wars or entertaining where else we should be thinking of war. 

Christians are supposed to be dreamers much more than maintainers. Can we imagine a new spirit-seized voice of Mothers, so greened in their discontent with all the war-killing, that next Mother's Day they will rise up - a million of them - in a new proclamation:

"We are the mothers and grandmothers of this nation, and we are so tired of war. We don't want our children (or the children of any other other nation) to be surrendered to war. War is only waste. War perpetuates more war. War is destroying our beautiful planet. Let the flower, candy and restaurant industries find something new to celebrate. We're taking Mother's Day back." 

Of course, there'll be lots of Americans (perhaps mostly men) who would roll their eyes, laugh, mock and make jokes, call names and scowl. To each his own. There must be mothers and grandmothers out there: clear thinkers with spirit and strong voices, vision and great organizational skills. Take back the day!

P.S. If this sounds impossible, recently Maria Hamilton from Milwaukee, organized a Million-Mom March in Washington on the Department of Justice, protesting racially charged deaths. 


  1. Father Stephen, I remember you as a kind and gentle priest. Always knowing to say the right thing to comfort people and to guide them into a better prayer life, bringing peace to many. And now it seems that you are so focused on war and hate and all that is wrong with the world. I know you are calling us to action, but it is very disconcerting.

    1. I'm still kind and gentle. And I still hope to guide us to better prayer lives (witness the post just before this one - Rejoice, O Mary!) I can't claim to always have the right thing to say though. You're being too kind in that regard. The world is disconcerting with its wars and hatred. It's so terribly real and menacing. But the only action I ever call people to (again before this particular post) is the action of a changed heart. Thanks for writing, but do have a think on this.

  2. I like this idea that the Spirit allows us to begin anew. This greening of humanity. I would March for peace with the other mothers of this country who opposes war and all the atrocities it brings.

  3. When winter is over and everything appears dead in the ground, the miracle of Spring occurs and green is everwhere. Life begins anew. This is how I feel about my spiritual life And this is largely due to you Father Stephen. Thank you for planting the seeds and nourishing us.

  4. Yes, I do see the world is in jeopardy and I wish there was a quick solution, one without conflict. Maybe the only way is through, gentle Mary and her powerful rosary. If mothers could work hard at teaching their children how to pray, doing all things through love and kindness for others, going after their priests for support. Can't beat a bunch of mothers joined together on a mission, a mission of more dedication to Mary, the gentle Mary.