The Fourth Sunday in Lent is traditionally a moment of relief in this penitential season. The colour changes from purple to rose, and the Entrance Antiphon marks the difference in tone: "Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her!"
This is also Mothering Sunday. Our poem today is another one from Malcolm Guite, and this is his own commentary:
The fourth Sunday of Lent happens also to be Mothering Sunday. Continuing in my series of sonnets for the Church Year I have written this one for Mothering Sunday. It’s a thanksgiving for all parents, especially for those who bore the fruitful pain of labour, and more particularly in this poem I have singled out for praise those heroic single parents who, for whatever reason, have found themselves bearing alone the burdens, and sharing with no-one the joys of their parenthood.
By Malcolm Guite
At last, in spite of all, a recognition,
For those who loved and laboured for so long,
Who brought us, through that labour, to fruition
To flourish in the place where we belong.
A thanks to those who stayed and did the raising,
Who buckled down and did the work of two,
Whom governments have mocked instead of praising,
Who hid their heart-break and still struggled through,
The single mothers forced onto the edge
Whose work the world has overlooked, neglected,
Invisible to wealth and privilege,
But in whose lives the kingdom is reflected.
Now into Christ our mother church we bring them,
Who shares with them the birth-pangs of His Kingdom.
I didn't get this to Justin in time for a reading, but you can find Malcolm's own recitation here.