Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

5/14/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Sacrifice is the great virtue of motherhood

Nothing speaks more highly to me of this self-sacrifice than the witness of a mother, who daily gives of herself for her own. Often depriving herself, she offers to others; often preferring others, she offers herself.Motherhood is a call to stay firm in the face of uncertainty, despair, sickness, poverty, and even danger, where her children are concerned. One could almost say that as the father is the sword, she is the shield.

Highlights

By Randy Sly

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/14/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: Motherhood, Mother's Day, women, Mary, fiat, sacrifice, love


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Once upon a time there was a young woman who loved her Lord. There was nothing she withheld from Him. Her life was always "yes" to Him, the proverbial "fiat" - "let it be to me as you have said." She fell in love and, hearing the "Divine Yes," married the man whom she loved. They grew in Him as one in the sacramental mystery.

A child was born and she loved the child. The child brought something out of her that had always been a part of her yet never expressed. Like a hidden stream now discovered, rivers of love flowed out of the woman to her child. She knew she would do anything - yes anything - even give up her life for the precious one who lay in her arms. A special bond, which had begun nine months before, now burst forth with such fire and fervency that she knew nothing would ever be the same again.

The chance soon came to test this depth of love, not through her physical death, but through her dying to opportunities. Travel to exciting places, special events, intriguing people, all marched past the edges of her life while she maintained her watchfulness over the child. Her vigil would not succumb to the call of personal wants and affluence.

Soon more children were born into this woman's life. The hidden stream was not divided, however. More love flowed as though her reservoir could not be quenched. Enough love for each where none could want for more.

Yet again, more tests came. Unyielding in her vigil, the woman knew that, whatever the lure, her place as mother must remain unyielding. She gave up herself, as she died to potential memories of what could have been. She chose to live in anticipation of the memories of what would be, for her and her family. She never looked back. She is my wife.

In St. John's Gospel, Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."

Shepherds come in many shapes and sizes. They are men and women, and even children.

Some shepherds are mothers. They tend the little flock called the domestic church along with their husbands, who are also shepherds of this field. Mother-shepherds nurture their children out of the goodness, the loveliness, the gentleness, and the winsomeness of womanhood in God's image.

A mother lays down her life by taking it up on behalf of these precious ones entrusted to her care. She knows martyrdom in a way that no man may know it - giving up her life in childbirth and in childcare. No hireling can imitate or come close to matching a mother's love.

Motherhood is a call to stay firm in the face of uncertainty, despair, sickness, poverty, and even danger, where her children are concerned. One could almost say that as the father is the sword, she is the shield.

This I have learned as I have watched my wife all these years. This I have learned from my wife, not hearing her words only, but beholding her actions; not in seeing her live only, but in seeing her die to self.

Jesus also said, "I am the good shepherd; and I know my sheep, and am known by my own."

A mother can describe her children to the minutest detail. Borne out of years of a loving gaze, each line and shape of her child remain fixed and firm as a portrait carried in the heart. She knows them inside and out; where each blemish is located, where each "owie" was bandaged, and how each mood is triggered.

Often the child is surprised by this knowledge, in awe that nothing really escapes a mother's watchfulness. Everything is logged and categorized in a special place in the soul called "a mother's care."

St. Angela Merici was an orphan in the fifteenth century who devoted her life to children. "Mothers of children," she wrote, "even if they have a thousand, carry each and every one fixed in their hearts, and because of the strength of their love they do not forget any of them. In fact, it seems that the more children they have the more their love and care for each one is increased."

The mother is also known by her children. The sound of her voice can both soothe and sound the alarm. How often my children and I have heard people say to my wife, "You have such a wonderful and sweet voice on the phone. I couldn't imagine you ever shouting." My offspring would smile sweetly, for their mother's voice was sweet and soothing, yet knowing that there were times when the alarm would sound!

They will also forever remember the "snap" - the perfected art of snapping her fingers for attention. In any public place and particularly at church, the "snap" could be heard - as loud as a thunderclap - calling wandering wills to return to behavior best suited for God's house.

A mother's treasure is her memories and her wealth is found in those ones whom she has nurtured through the years. No wonder Scripture states that Mary the Mother of God - the Blessed Theotokos - "kept all the things about her Son and pondered them in her heart."

At the end of this section, our Lord also said, "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again."

St. John was truly impacted by this awesome declaration and wrote in his first epistle, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."

Nothing speaks more highly to me of this self-sacrifice than the witness of a mother, who daily gives of herself for her own. Often depriving herself, she offers to others; often preferring others, she offers herself.

An account like this one about mothers must be shared with caution. For some, motherhood was an accident, and not always a welcome one; for some, biological motherhood isn't possible, and this day is a reminder of what may not be; for some, mothers weren't all that nice, and this day carries different memories; for most, motherhood, even under the very best of circumstances, is still less than a bed of roses and the primrose path.

Yet, apart from all personal experience, the calling of motherhood remains before the Lord as a noble state of being to be honored and embraced. As one person wrote, "for all its stumbling blocks, pitfalls and broken dreams, for all the soiled diapers, soiled wallpaper and spoiled plans, we're talking about a beautiful ideal, a natural part of God's creative plan to bring love and caring to light (to life)."

-----
 
Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online (http://virginia.catholic.org). He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

---


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


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.



Comments


More Marriage & Family

Family Tips: How to promote optimism in your child Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As parents, there are moments when it is very easy for us to get swept away by the fire in our heads during moments of uncertainties, problems, anxieties and even anger. Because we unconsciously get dragged down by the heat of a moment, we sometimes end up hurting our ... continue reading


10 silly reasons why being in a relationship is awesome Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While we're all for power in the single person, being in a relationship can be a great thing, especially if you are comfortable with the person. You get warmth and love, but there are quite a few other great things, often taken for granted, that you are gifted when in ... continue reading


Are you having a bad hair day? 13 ways to turn your boring ponytail into something exciting Watch

Image of Don't let your hair drag you down anymore; tie it up and take control.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's one of those days; your hair isn't cooperating at all and you've reduced yourself to a simple ponytail to reign in your wild hair. However, the ponytail doesn't have to be an unfavorable, last ditch resort anymore. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - After you ... continue reading


Need change, but can't commit? 11 ways to temporarily change your hair, that won't leave you with regret Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hair is a funny thing; it's with you all the time and you become so used to it and comfortable with it. At the same time, you can begin to get completely sick of it, but remain afraid of changing it. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - If you make a drastic change to ... continue reading


Watch what happens when you ask adorable kids questions about love Watch

Image of Jubilee Project's latest video shows kids may know more about love than most adults.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's amazing how much insight young children have that often goes unnoticed. This group of kids under the age of 12 were asked questions about love, and what they say is brilliant. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Jubilee Project, a nonprofit group seeking to ... continue reading


3 easy ways to meet your match this Valentine's Day Watch

Image of Places to meet potential romance are behind every corner.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you're single this Valentine's Day, take heart - there are a lot of places in which to meet other people who are anxious to get to know you! Let's cross off the most obvious one - single bars. With their loud, deafening music, and alcohol-impaired patrons, ... continue reading


Lift up love and marriages around you with these 6 ways to pray for marriages Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While it is important to try to express appreciation and love to your significant other every day, there are a choice few days in the year that remind you to reconnect and make time for each other. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Valentine's Day is shaped all ... continue reading


Do you hate Valentine's Day? Here's how to fight back! Watch

Image of Hate how Valentine's Day is celebrated? Tired of gender stereotypes reinforced by slick marketing? Fight back, retake the HOLY DAY for St. Valentine and the people who are most worthy of your love.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Valentine's Day is supposed to be the feast day of St. Valentine, the Roman saint who gave his life for his steadfastness in faith. Despite the sacrifice by the early Catholic cleric, the modern interpretation of the holiday has devolved into a secular orgy of ... continue reading


10 ways to avoid those 'love blunders' this Valentine's Day Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (News Consortium)

The custom of showing affection and attention to loved ones on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, has become part of the fabric of our culture. There is a kind of unwritten law or expectation that, on that day, spouses are supposed to do or give something that signifies ... continue reading


40 beautiful quotes about love that will ignite the flame in your heart Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When you fall in love, your whole self is consumed. You are constantly enthralled with thoughts of your loved one. Here are 40 beautiful quotes about love that will bring a certain someone to mind: LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - 1. "If I loved you less, I might be ... continue reading


All Marriage & Family News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 17:5-10
5 Yahweh says this, 'Accursed be anyone who trusts in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
1 How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 16:19-31
19 'There was a rich man who used to dress in purple ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 5th, 2015 Image

St. John Joseph of the Cross
March 5: St. John Joseph of the Cross was born about the middle of the ... 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