Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. James Farfaglia

5/14/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Mary, the mother of Jesus, our Blessed Mother, is the true model of motherhood

Motherhood is a high calling.  What can replace the love of a mother and a grandmother? The love, guidance and influence they provide to their children are distinct and invaluable. All mothers who wish to be true to their high calling need only look to the woman who became the greatest mother of all.  Born into humble surroundings, she was called by God to be the mother of the Son of God.

Highlights

By Fr. James Farfaglia

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/14/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Sunday homily, Catholic spirituality, Mother's Day, Father James Farfaglia, John Paul II, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Gospel of Saint John, Mary, Blessed Mother


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - For many years, a large number of women in our society have claimed that they do not find meaning and fulfillment in motherhood.  Let us consider for a moment the thoughts of two great men about the role their mothers played in their lives.

George Washington once said, "My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her."

Abraham Lincoln spoke similar words when he said, "All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother."

Unfortunately, many people in our society would not agree with these great men who had great mothers.  Today, many think that their lives have no meaning unless they are employed in the workplace; thus only in this way they regard themselves useful for society.  They consider the role of a stay home mom to be a waste of time. 

However, although the circumstances of some women oblige them to work, today many more married women are finding that staying home and raising their children is the right way to go. 

Motherhood is a very high calling.  What relationship can ever replace the love of a mother and a grandmother?  It is essential for women to realize that the love, guidance and influence they provide to their children are distinct and invaluable.

Another great man who became a great president was Theodore Roosevelt.  Let us listen to what he had to say about the importance of motherhood. 

"Into the woman's keeping is committed the destiny of the generations to come after us. In bringing up your children you mothers must remember that while it is essential to be loving and tender it is no less essential to be wise and firm.

Foolishness and affection must not be treated as interchangeable terms; and besides training your sons and daughters in the softer and milder virtues, you must seek to give them those stern and hardy qualities which in after life they will surely need. Some children will go wrong in spite of the best training; and some will go right even when their surroundings are most unfortunate; nevertheless an immense amount depends upon the family training.

If you mothers through weakness bring up your sons to be selfish and to think only of themselves, you will be responsible for much sadness among the women who are to be their wives in the future. If you let your daughters grow up idle, perhaps under the mistaken impression that as you yourselves have had to work hard they shall know only enjoyment, you are preparing them to be useless to others and burdens to themselves.

Teach boys and girls alike that they are not to look forward to lives spent in avoiding difficulties, but to lives spent in overcoming difficulties. Teach them that work, for themselves and also for others, is not a curse but a blessing; seek to make them happy, to make them enjoy life, but seek also to make them face life with the steadfast resolution to wrest success from labor and adversity, and to do their whole duty before God and to man. Surely she who can thus train her sons and her daughters is thrice fortunate among women."

There is no doubt that motherhood is a very high calling.  But, to whom can mothers look as the real model of motherhood?  Today's modern culture offers many role models through television, movies and women's magazines.  However, often these role models are either all together wrong or they offer a very limited and unrealistic view of true motherhood. 

All mothers who wish to be true to their high calling need only look to the woman who became the greatest mother of all.  Born into humble surroundings, she was called by God to be the mother of the Son of God.  She affirmed her obedience to the call of God and lived out her vocation throughout her entire life.  Mary, the mother of Jesus, our Blessed Mother, is the true model of motherhood. 

"It can thus be said that women, by looking to Mary, find in her the secret of living their femininity with dignity and of achieving their own true advancement.  In the light of Mary, the Church sees in the face of women the reflection of a beauty which mirrors the loftiest sentiments of which the human heart is capable: the self-offering totality of love; the strength that is capable of bearing the greatest sorrows; limitless fidelity and tireless devotion to work; the ability to combine penetrating intuition with words of support and encouragement" (Blessed John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater).

One aspect of Mary's life that has particular meaning and inspiration for many mothers today is the profound suffering that she endured during the passion of Our Lord.  Stabat Mater.  Mary stood at the foot of the cross. 

Divorce, separation, single moms, widows, mothers forced to work out of necessity, grandmothers raising grandchildren, prodigal children and prodigal grandchildren,  are realities that cause deep, daily suffering for many women.  Added to all of these sufferings, is the pain endured by many married women who would like to be mothers. 

All mothers and grandmothers need to find in Mary, our Blessed Mother, the faith, hope, love and fortitude to stand firm at the foot of the cross.  All suffering has power when we unite our suffering to the cross of Jesus.  Take your suffering, united to the suffering of Jesus, and offer that suffering for your children and grandchildren. 

As we honor our mothers and grandmothers on this yearly celebration of motherhood, we also need to consider the essential duties of husbands and children.

Saint Paul exhorts husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 6: 25).  Husbands have the solemn duty to sacrifice themselves continually in their total love for their wives and their children.  Each day provides numerous opportunities for husbands to live out their family life with many acts of patience, kindness and service.

Through loving obedience and the living out of the virtue of charity, children become a joy and not a burden to their mothers and grandmothers, and the children in turn learn to emulate these same virtues. Conversely, children who are self-centered will be unable to love the way that they should.

To be a true mother today is certainly very challenging indeed.  However, our yearly celebration of Mother's Day should motivate all mothers to understand the importance of their call by God to motherhood. 

I am very grateful for the hard work and dedication of the women in any parish that I have been assigned to.  No matter where I have ever been as a seminarian or as a priest, I have always seen the promise of Jesus fulfilled:  "And everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or land for the sake of my name will be repaid a hundred times over, and also inherit eternal life" (Matthew 19: 29).

Concretely, not only have many dedicated women assisted me in my ministry as a priest, I have also received many spiritual mothers and many spiritual sisters that have always taken very good care of me by keeping my refrigerator filled with delicious meals.  

Aside from the apostolic activity that many women provide in a parish family, it is good for a good priest to have the emotional support of spiritual mothers and spiritual sisters.  In order to be fully human, the faithful celibate priest needs to experience the richness of celibate friendships with the women of his parish family.  Life without the experience of the feminine dimension of human reality would be incomplete and cruel.

Women who truly live out their femininity are living icons of the tenderness of God.  The celibate priest reminds women that love is eternal.   Women remind priests that love is not only paternal, but maternal as well. 

On this beautiful day dedicated to motherhood, we must contemplate the reality that God is love.  The Holy Spirit has given us, through the Sacrament of Baptism, the gift of love.  It is through a profound spiritual life that we encounter the Holy Spirit.  In this way, he can give us the ability and the power to love more each day. 

My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will renew the hearts of all mothers so that they can live out their calling to motherhood with a deeper and more generous love within the daily circumstances of their lives.   

In this Sunday's gospel passage we hear these well-known words from Jesus: "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15: 13).  Here, in these simple yet profound words, we find a program of life for the entire family.

----- 

Father James Farfaglia is the Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, TX.  Visit him on the web to learn more about his book, homilies and audio podcasts.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Living Faith

Learning from Elijah: Shipwreck, Struggle and the Broom Tree

Image of Elijah under the broom tree

By Deacon Keith Fournier

There are lessons that can only be learned under the broom tree. The lesson St Paul gave to the early Christians in Greece about the reality of being shipwrecked and experiencing daily struggles in life is critical in our age. God is searching for men and ... continue reading


Head of Russian Orthodox Church to meet with Pope Francis to repair rift between branches Watch

Image of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow is a Russian Orthodox bishop. He became Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus' and Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church in February of 2009.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is definitely going to happen -- but where and when has yet to be decided. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church and Pope Francis have agreed to meet in an attempt to repair the major rift between the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity. LOS ... continue reading


Pope Francis explains the nature of faith - the whole Gospel is written in its light Watch

Image of Francis lamented that

By CNA/EWTN News

The Pope focused on the virtue of faith during his Sunday Angelus address, saying the whole gospel is written in its light. VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - "Faith is this: to touch Jesus and to draw from him the grace which saves," Pope Francis explained June 28 at ... continue reading


Pope Francis admonishes archbishops to be convinced by what themselves teach Watch

Image of The Pope added that, in being witnesses to the faith, archbishops should practice what they preach.

By CNA/EWTN News

During his Mass for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul on Monday, Pope Francis called on the Church's new archbishops to be courageous witnesses who are not ashamed of Christ, and who are convinced by what they themselves teach. VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading


Parents of St. Therese of Lisieux to be canonized by Pope Francis later this year Watch

Image of The canonizations of the married couple will coincide with the Synod on the Family, to be held on Oct. 4-25.

By CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis formally approved on Saturday the decrees necessary for Blesseds Louis and Zelie Martin - known for being the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux - to be declared saints later this year. VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - The two blesseds will be the first ... continue reading


Itinerary of the Pope's trip to Cuba and the U.S.A. and his visit to the United Nations

Image of Pope Francis boarding airline.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican on Tuesday released the comprehensive itinerary for Pope Francis' journey to the United States and Cuba, including his schedule for Philadelphia for Sept. 26-27.Here is the Holy Father's complete schedule for his September visit to Cuba and ... continue reading


The Ultimate Bucket List: 20 things to do before joining God in Heaven Watch

Image of Add your own bucket list goals.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bucket listing has become a popular trend within social media sites and all over the world, ranging from reading best-selling books, to traveling to exotic places on holiday, favorite places to eat, enchanting tourist destinations and so forth. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES ... continue reading


Religious lawyer calls out to people of faith warning what will happen if they don't 'STAND UP' following gay marriage ruling Watch

Image of Photo credit: Dave Crenshaw - Eastern Oklahoma Catholic

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Supreme Court gave in to LGBT rights advocates on June 26 and legalized same-sex marriage throughout the United States. Now the entire United States court system must recognize the union of two same-sex individuals as legal, creating a social media frenzy around ... continue reading


'Holy Grail' recovered after stolen by burglars Watch

Image of One depiction of the Holy Grail.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A year after it was stolen, the police finally recovered a wooden relic believed by some to be the Holy Grail. In July 2014, the invaluable medieval relic was stolen during a raid in Weston Under Penyard near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire. The Nanteos Cup has now been ... continue reading


Medjugorje Marian apparitions ruled FALSE? Watch

Image of According to the reports, the congregation did acknowledge Medjugorje as a place of prayer and devotion that can be visited by pilgrims for prayer, though without contacting the supposed visionaries or participating in their

By CNA/EWTN News

If reports in Italian media outlets are to be believed, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met June 24 to discuss the alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, reaching the conclusion that they are inauthentic, but recognizing the site as a place of ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 21:5, 8-20
5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 34:7-8, 10-11, 12-13
7 The angel of Yahweh encamps around those who fear ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 8:28-34
28 When he reached the territory of the Gadarenes on ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 1st, 2015 Image

Bl. Junipero Serra
July 1: Miguel Jose Serra was born on the island of Majorca on November ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter