Just before I was to attend a recent baby shower, I found an article by Frederica Mathewes-Green, a sort of meditation on the power of a mother’s influence. It’s primarily about Father George Calciu, who was “one of the great confessors of Christianity in the twentieth century. Having survived the diabolic prison experiments of Communist Romania, Fr. George went on to become an apostle to spiritual seekers in Romania and, eventually, throughout the world.”
Fr. George spent a total of more than 20 years in prison. When later he was a pastor in the United States, he became Frederica’s spiritual father and confessor.
Her thoughts about his relationship to his mother seemed perfect to share at a baby shower, so I read the whole article before gifts were opened. Putting together what she knew personally of Fr. George, and what he told her about his mother, Frederica concluded:
“I think that Fr. George’s mother planted something joyous in him, when he was still a baby in the cradle. Her love and her delight in him took root, and grew as strong as an oak tree.”
I have read many stories about people who, when as adults they found themselves in deep trouble and disorder from whatever source, for whatever reason, were sustained and preserved — and sometimes brought to repentance — by simple childhood memories of what was normal and good. Sometimes it was the thought of one sweet person, or one beautiful day, long ago embedded in their soul, like an ember still glowing. From this one bit of warmth and light they found the strength to pray and the courage to do whatever was necessary.
“We do not know where our children’s lives will lead them; they may have to undergo suffering that we will be unable to prevent. They may be somewhere far beyond our ability to help them. But in the loving care we give each day, we plant something for a lifetime. Each small thing we do can be preparing them to meet challenges that we cannot yet see.”
Read the whole (short) article: “Father George Calciu, My Spiritual Father.”