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The Burnt Chop

Anecdotally the mother will take the burnt chop for herself rather than serve it to another member of the family. Frequently this is portrayed as soppy self-sacrifice. Those of us who cook for our families though, and who are often in this position, understand it is a true act of selfless love where the parent puts the interest of their family first. It is an act done without thinking and without sense of loss. It is genuine selfless love.

Such love is not only biological. I have three adopted children and willingly eat the burn chop! Absolute proximity brings about this connection. I know my children and the love is borne out of this knowledge and understanding. Indeed the deeper we know any other person the deeper our empathy with them and the greater the chance of love and forgiveness. The Divine has this connection with all of us. The saints work on it.

A mother still loving a child who has done great wrong is a small reflection of the greater love. The image of grieving mother clinging to the son who has killed or raped is a sign not of lost morality but of the deeper love that truly connects and forgives. The son is no longer deserving. The love is no longer earned. But the love continues.

And we – however great our virtues or however black our sins – receive an unconditional love from a God who knows us so much better than even the most nosy of mothers. Do I have any evidence of the existence of such love? Only that I see its afterglow everyday of my life when another parent eats another burnt chop.

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