Mothers of Vocations
Adapted from Father Raoul Plus, S.J.’s Christ in the Home
When Motta was elected to the Swiss Federal Council, his first act was to send this telegram to his mother: “To my venerated mother, who remaining a widow while I was still a child, engraved in my heart the concept of duty by teaching me that duty dominates all interests, all selfishness, all other concerns.”
To be sure, God remains the Master of vocations and Motta was not entering upon Holy Orders. But what is certain is that never—or shall we say rarely, very rarely—is a vocation born into a family unless the mother has inculcated in her children a sense of duty and a habit of sacrifice.
Of course, all children who receive a strong supernatural training do not enter the priesthood or religious life, but no child enters upon any career calling for great self-sacrifice if he does not acquire early in life a solid spirit of renunciation of the world and generosity in the accomplishment of duty.
On the other hand, where mothers know how to go about teaching and above all practicing complete fidelity to duty and total renunciation, where they always put the supernatural love of God before material love for their children, Our Lord finds it easy to choose His privileged souls.
Monsignor d’Hulst said many a time to Abbe Leprince, “It takes a truly Christian mother to make a good priest. The seminary polishes him off but does not give him the substance, the sacerdotal [priestly] spirit.” All things considered, that holds true for novitiates and those practicing the religious life. Nothing replaces family training, above all the influence of the mother. But that training and that influence must be wholly supernatural.
Madame Acarie, foundress of a French Carmelite Convent where she was known as Sister Marie of the Incarnation, strove earnestly to rear her six children for God. She explained to them: “I would not hesitate to love a strange child more than you if his love for God were greater than yours.”
However, individual free will always remains and God is always Master of His gifts. That thought ought to calm the fear—unjustifiable as it is but humanly understandable—of certain mothers who think, “If I conduct my home along lines too thoroughly Christian, if I instill into my children too strong a habit of the virtues which lead to total renunciation, to an all-embracing zeal, I shall see my sons and daughters renouncing marriage one by one and setting off for the priesthood or the convent.”
If that were to happen, where would be the harm? But that rarely happens in practice. Furthermore, is marriage a state of life that does not require a sense of duty or abnegation? Let there be no anxiety on this score, but perfect peace. The important thing now is not that God might choose so-and-so but that the home gives Our Lord maximum glory; that each child, whatever his destiny, serves an apprenticeship in generosity and the true spirit of the Gospel.
Everything else as far as the future is concerned should be left to God.
Adapted from Father Raoul Plus, S.J.’s Christ in the Home (Colorado Springs, CO: Gardner Brothers, 1951), pp. 316 – 318. This book is a treasure chest of advice for Catholics on the practical and spiritual concerns of raising a family.
DAILY QUOTE for July 16, 2020
SAINT OF THE DAY
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
John shared with me the story of his conversion from Protestantism: about fourteen years ago he was visiting one of the 21 Spanish missions in California