If you haven’t listened to John Lewis’s essay written just before he died and published on the day he died, do yourself a favor and take the time to watch it now on YouTube. Today, I would like to write about something I know little of (so you say: “What else is new?”) motherhood, in particular John Lewis’s mother.
Of course, I have no way of knowing what John Lewis’s mother thought of her son, but if she was anything like my mother, I suspect she always encouraged him to be himself. John’s mother died in 2003 making her an eyewitness to much of John’s life, a life challenging the world’s assumptions and its ways of doing things. She observed the abuse of her son by that same world, the abuse of being beaten, assaulted and arrested for just doing what he thought right. I suspect John’s mother was familiar with the following scripture.
He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no stately form or majesty to attract us, no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. Like one from whom men hide their faces, He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He took on our infirmities and carried our sorrows; yet we considered Him stricken by God, struck down and afflicted…Isaiah 53:2-3
Willie Mae Carter Lewis (1914 – 2003)
John grew up before his mother like a tender shoot. Today, I would like to celebrate Willie Mae (née Carter) Lewis, John’s mother and all the mothers who have given their lives raising and loving their children, encouraging them to be themselves despite what the world might say about them or do to them. They did this behind the scenes.
While it’s pure conjecture, I believe Willie Mae walked every step that her son John trod, and she deserves all the tributes we lay on her son as well. Thank you Willie Mae and all mothers who have in the past and continue today to raise children who show us and the world a more excellent way.
Posted by Dan O’Donnell, a layman who has covenanted with the Chicago Community of Passionist Partners. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey
We are a community of laymen and laywomen who, with vowed Passionists, seek to share in the charism of St. Paul of the Cross through prayer, ongoing spiritual formation, and proclamation of the message of Christ Crucified.