Wisdom from the Bishop’s Mother


Bishop Thomas Tobin shared this memorable moment in a recent iteration of his regular column in The Rhode Island Catholic:

One year, when I was living in Youngstown, I went home for my weekly visit to mom just before Christmas and she asked me to take a tray of her prized cookies across the street to our neighbors. Of course I was happy to comply.

So, I grabbed the tray, put it under my arm like a football, and started out the door. “Wait,” she said, “hold it upright or you’ll crush the cookies.” And then I said something I still remember and regret: “It doesn’t really matter, they’re just cookies.” And she leveled me with this, her voice as stern as I ever heard it: “It matters to me; I made those cookies and I’m proud of them. Hold the tray straight!”

Boom! That’s how a mom corrects a fifty-year-old bishop, pulls him from his pedestal, and puts him in his place.

All that matters matters only because it matters to somebody.  That point is especially appropriate on Christmas Eve, as we await the celebration of God’s gift to us of His self and son.  A humble and humbling moment in a stable two millennia ago is still significant to us today because of to whom it mattered then and because of the millions to whom it has mattered since.