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“Dear mother, your motherhood can transform the world:” The mission of the Catholic mother

By Sandra Morales, associate director of family ministries for the Archdiocese of Denver

To write this article, I propose that we examine what it means to be a mother in the secular and Catholic worldviews, intending to find significant differences and reflect on them. In doing so, it surprised me to discover that what God has written on women’s hearts from the beginning has remained present in the deepest part of our being despite the various changes and ideologies we see in the modern day.

The secular world tells us that mothers are fundamental pillars for their children and that a healthy relationship with one’s mother has a positive effect on children’s self-esteem. A mother shows us how life is; she helps us to understand the world; she offers us her listening ear. She gives encouraging advice; she is unconditional; she offers a sincere, true love that does not know limits. This is precisely what the Church teaches us about a mother’s role. Her mission to raise her children is her principal work, and a mother united to Christ gives the fruit of eternal life.

With all of this in mind, I can deduce that a Catholic mother recognizes herself, first and foremost, as a daughter of God, created in his image and likeness, and carries within her “the richness of being a woman” (La Riqueza de Ser Mujer (2nd edition), Maga Albarrán). She is called to give life and does just that in a thousand ways. This reminds me of the significance of Eve’s name in Hebrew: “giver of life.” This is precisely what a mother offers her children: life in all aspects.

A Catholic mother is a woman who lives the Catholic faith because she has given her “yes” to Jesus and is convinced by all that the Church teaches. She lives in accord with the Church’s principles and teachings about raising and educating children, which have been transmitted through the centuries. She is not perfect, but she allows herself to be constantly perfected by the Lord. She does not seek the world’s greatness but rather lovingly to enlarge the hearts of all those who surround her, especially her children.

The Catholic mother passes on the faith to her children through her daily testimony. With every trial, difficulty or suffering, she shows her children that God works constantly in them. She takes the time to speak to them about the Gospel and to play and work with them so they might more deeply know the world around them. She always seeks to see every child as the gift of God that they are, without seeking to change them, but rather accepting them as they are and offering her prayers and sacrifices so that God might transform their hearts.

In the 26 years God has granted me to be beside my children, I have learned something new about motherhood daily. With each of my children, my expression of motherhood has been different since each has unique needs and personalities. This experience has led my motherhood to grow and mature and has taught me new things daily – on the human and the spiritual levels, depending on my disposition and openness to learn.

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After my first encounter with Jesus, my experience of motherhood grew to a new level. Thanks to God’s love, I have learned – and continue to learn – to love my children for who they are, not for the people I wish they were. This has been crucial for me. Moreover, all of the women who have taught me to be a good mother come to mind: my own mother, my grandmothers, my friends and other mothers I have known throughout my walk with God. They have been a fundamental part of my growth as a mother, and I admire them profoundly. They are beautiful women filled with a deep love for their children – one ready to sacrifice their lives for their children at any moment.

How wonderful it is to be able to count on their example and support!

Just like our mother, Mary, these mothers – and all Catholic mothers – constantly give their “yes” to the Lord. For all of this effort, I want to express my most profound gratitude. Daily, they wake up early to ensure their children have a hot breakfast, clean clothes, an ordered home and good food when they come home from school. They pray unceasingly for their children in their particular situations, even to the point of tears. Despite the challenges, they trust in God and accept his mission to love and fight for their children, knowing that their children need them.

Thank you, mothers, for going after the lost child and for waiting for their conversion, just as Jesus does for his lost sheep!

Thank you because, despite your responsibilities, you still make room in your hearts to listen, heal wounds, console and look after your children’s needs.

Thank you for helping them discover that they are a gift from God and are loved unconditionally! Through your testimony of love and self-gift, your children come to know Jesus and understand that all you do for them, Jesus has done first for all of humanity and each of them individually.

Dear mother, your motherhood can transform the world! How? By forming your children into responsible adults, teaching them solid values, offering them an example of authentic faith, and building a solid family founded in Catholic values. By remaining part of a community of faith, participating in Holy Mass and the sacraments, and praying for them – even with others, you offer your sacrifices for the good of your children and others. You promote respect for life from conception to death.

Remember that thanks to your openness to life, the world has doctors, nurses, presidents, lawyers, engineers, chefs, and seamstresses; we see new, holy marriages, new children, priests, religious brothers, and sisters, but more than anything, we see great saints that continue to point us to Heaven.

Dear mothers, continue fighting and working so that your children might become saints, not because we want them to be perfect, but because through your example, guidance, and prayers, they are brought to an encounter with our Eucharistic Lord. God, through you, can show them his love and conquer their hearts.

May God find our hearts docile, just as he found Mary’s heart, so that we might continue becoming the women and mothers that we ought to be and, in turn, help transform the world, one child at a time.

The next time you ask yourself, “What kind of world are we leaving to our children,” you can answer in faith and hope, saying, “We are fighting to raise holy children that will collaborate with God in the transformation of the world, one person at a time.”

May our Most Holy Mother Mary be the model of femininity and motherhood we follow.

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