In the course of a day, a mother can deal with family logistics that include a spouse, home, job, finances, car, meals, education, activities, sports, play dates, volunteering, homework, making sure everyone gets enough sleep, and add to that in a Christian family: that children are growing in their spiritual lives.
“Women operate at a frenetic pace trying to keep up with all the pressures,” according to Lisa Lickona, S.T.L. “And when they can’t, they feel inadequate, guilty, depressed; and give up and check out. It’s daunting.”
What is it to be a mother today? Why is it so hard to live out this vocation? And where does God fit in?
Lickona will address these questions, in her experience as a theologian, wife and mother of eight, in the next installment of the Archbishop’s Lecture Series Oct. 7 in her talk titled “Love At the Heart of the Family: Motherhood in the New Millennium.”
“In all the things we manage and take care of: where is God in all that?” she said in a phone conversation with the Denver Catholic Register Sept. 18 from her home in the rural community of McGraw in upstate New York.
“People don’t think of the world as something that God is intimately involved with,” she said. “That he’s ‘way out there,’ or we happen to see him when we pray; if we pray.”
But when God’s not involved in the particulars, she said, a mother can begin to feel “it’s all up to me.”
“The truth is we’re not alone, we’re not abandoned,” she said. “Love entered the world in the person of Jesus Christ. … We have the Church, we have the sacraments.”
Mothers need to encounter love to build themselves up on the inside.
“There has to be something deeper I’m drawing from,” Lickona said, referring to a deeper sense of a relationship with Christ. “Faith has to become a person. It has to be a journey with Christ every day.”
Lickona holds a licentiate in sacred theology and a master’s of theological studies from the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C. She is co-author of the pastoral resource “Adult Children of Divorce: Recovering Origins, Following the Path of ‘Our Father;'” many articles on family, marriage, parenting, culture and the writings of St. John Paul II; and currently writes daily meditations on saints for Magnificat, while raising her children—from age 2 to 20—with her husband Mark. The couple also lost one child due to complications with prematurity and Down syndrome in 2010 at just 3 months old.
In her talk, Lickona will offer practical, realistic ways to help mothers—and those who support them—to cultivate spiritual “anchors” in the daily life, including: prayer, Mass, confession, and simple moments of quiet time to be open to the Lord’s presence.
“It’s very easy as moms to keep giving, giving, giving,” she said, “that we don’t give ourselves time to be with Lord … the source of all our strength.”
Her talk continues this year’s lecture theme focusing on family while the Church also focuses on the family in 2014-2015 (see related story here). The next lecture in the series will discuss cultivating family life with a missionary spirit.
Lickona will speak at 7 p.m. in Bonfil Halls on the campus of the St. John Paul II Center in south Denver. The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-715-3230.