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"As Far As My Knee Can Bend"

A Mother's Day Tribute to Mom

For over a year now, it has been no longer possible for me to make a single genuflection (bending a knee to touch the floor) as called for in some church practice and liturgies. My knee can go only halfway unless I make a laborious time-consuming effort that could end in a fall unless I hold on to a prop. The alternative is just to make a reverent bow or let my knee bend as far as it can go.

As an altar server in my youth, I knew the proper way to make a genuflection. I knew its exact meaning and why we do it at certain times, like before entering a pew in church, or when passing across the tabernacle where the Eucharist is kept.

Most priests genuflect after the processional before ascending the altar at Mass. Before, when assisting, I could do the same without any difficulty. Now, I often find myself either just bowing or bending my knee as far as it can go, which is halfway to the floor even if the celebrant genuflects.

How aging muscles and nerves can affect the way we do certain things! The resolve not to be affected by such bodily changes is very much there, but it is futile. One needs to accept reality and slow down. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, as the saying goes. But one cannot just completely stop and rest.

Speaking of resting, my mom fulfilled her motherhood responsibility and served her loved ones with unselfish devotion, and with much sacrifice even at an advanced age. She just could not stop since she felt her job was not yet done. Like how I feel now when I want to go on serving even with hardened knees, she continued to make her own "genuflection," but only "as far as her knee could go." It was still "a genuflection," and I feel it is even a better one, precisely because it required a much more strenuous effort on her part.

On this Mother's Day, I give this filial tribute to my mom, for all she was to us, for showing us how to love intensely and unceasingly, without thinking of self. Hers was an example to us, her sons and daughters who would be fathers and mothers when our own time came.

I know that this puny way of expressing my gratitude to Mom cannot match the recognition that I believe God has given her. I am sure I speak for all of us she devoted her life to.

Thinking about you in heaven, Mom, on this Mother's Day here on this side of eternity! When you genuflect before the throne of our Lord in heaven, both your knees, no longer with the limitations of a body not yet glorified, will go all the way on the floor of the clouds to adore your God and my God that we both aimed in life to love and to serve!#


"Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land the LORD your God is giving you." (Exodus 20:12)

My Mom

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