The Mother’s Sublime Vocation as Heart of the Family
Taking for granted that mothers are the loftiest expression of the goodness of God in this world of ours, let me say that they should do nothing to lessen the wonderful influence for good which they can exert. A mother should remember her function in the family—she is its heart.
What a world of meaning that one word suggests! It is the heart that suffers and sometimes breaks. It is the heart that rejoices and overflows with joy. Suffering and sympathy make the mother so cherished, so inspiring, so loved. Suffering and sympathy also bring to the mother her greatest joy. For her heart is so good that she delights to suffer for the well-being of others. Her kind, gentle nature cheers the children and their father, and helps them over the rough places on the journey of life.
But if the mother has her cares and sufferings, she also has her joys. Indeed, it may be said that no human joy is comparable to that experienced by a good mother. Every joy of the children and their father is hers twofold. If her mother’s love causes her to suffer with her family, it also enables her to rejoice with them, and no human joy is so free from alloy as a mother’s.
Besides, she realizes that in proportion as she lives for her family, they live for her. The good mother is the queen of the household. She reigns supreme over the hearts of her subjects. More than that, she is the inspiration of the father of the family. Under the gentle influence of a good mother, the father of a family finds it easy to toil and to face the trials of life. Oh, that every mother might realize her dignity and power, for she holds the key to the souls of her children and it is she who opens their little hearts and places in them the seeds of future character.
Motherhood exercises the most intimate and powerful influence known among men.
Some of the greatest saints were the children of saintly mothers.
Saint Augustine was the fruit of Saint Monica’s example and prayers and tears.
Saint Louis of France found in his mother Blanche a holy model. Her words, spoken to him in his youth, “I would rather see you dead at my feet than guilty of mortal sin,” were engraved in his heart and influenced him throughout his life.
The great Saint Bernard was the child of a mother so holy that virtue, instilled by her example, became almost second nature.
The first school a child attends is the one presided over by his mother. On those early lessons begun in the cradle and continued in the home, the career of later life mainly depend. Youth is like wax for receiving impressions and like steel for retaining them. If in the tender years of childhood the mother has placed the proper impression on her children, they will be the better for it all their lives.
The good mother is like a gardener who cultivates delicate plants. The gardener must prepare the soil and keep it moist and remove every harmful growth. But the joy he experiences as the plants rise from the ground and develop into beautiful flowers, more than repays him for his labor. The pleasure of beholding the result of his painstaking care is so great that frequently he cultivates a garden not for what it produces but for the pleasure of producing. When the plants are human souls, when the tender growth is one’s own child, what must be the joy of the gardener! And as the devoted mother watches her flowers unfold, beholds their love responding to her own, what joy on earth compares with hers!
As the poet has written, “Then crown her queen of the world,” for queen she is. The world is what mothers make it.
Taken from You and Yours: Practical Talks on Home Life by Fr. Martin Scott, SJ, pages 25-29.
SAINT OF THE DAY
Here we discover something akin to the “Secret of Mary,” of which Saint Louis de Montfort speaks.