Many years ago, somebody asked me a rather interesting question. It went something like this: “What was God’s first commandment? And does He still ask it of us?” I thought about the question for a moment, then I did what many people do when looking for an answer related to the faith…I went to Google! Thankfully, the algorithm in Google pointed me to where I should have started in the first place, the Bible, specifically in the Book of Genesis.
After the creation of Adam and Eve, and before the Fall, God issued this command: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28) To be fertile (or fruitful) is understood to be a command to cooperate with God in the creation of new human lives. Even though the Fall damaged humanity’s relationship with God and one another, He nevertheless desires for this command to remain in effect and asks that couples who are entering into the Sacrament of Matrimony to be open to this important aspect of married life. We see this in the Celebration of Matrimony itself. Just before the couple exchanges their vows, the Church asks them: “Are you prepared to accept children lovingly from God and to bring them up according to the law of Christ and His Church?”
Today, as our country celebrates Mother’s Day, everybody who reads this can be thankful that their mother chose to say yes to God’s first command to be fruitful and multiply. I am more than aware that not every child who is born into the world comes from the context of a couple who is married. And while not ideal, we must still rejoice because every life is a gift from God, and the mothers who chose to accept that life lovingly from God are to be commended and praised. I know that I will be thanking God in a special way for my mother today.
When I was younger and more foolish, I used to tell people that after having had two boys, my mother really wanted a girl. She was indeed blessed with a girl, and I tagged along in the womb with my sister. I remember how my mother reacted one time when she heard me say that. She was clearly not in agreement with my assessment of the situation, and through that rather awkward experience, I realized that my mother had lovingly welcomed both my twin sister and me. I was not just an extra to what she really wanted, I was a double blessing to her. And so I thank her in a special way for lovingly welcoming me as a gift from the moment I was conceived in her womb up to the present moment.
Let me express my gratitude to all mothers on this day for their willingness to lovingly welcome their children into this world. And for those mothers who may have had to endure the pain of losing that gift to death too early, we pray in a special way for their healing and comfort from the Lord, who looks upon all mothers with tender love for their willingness to obey His first command.