Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. James Farfaglia

5/14/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Mary, the mother of Jesus, our Blessed Mother, is the true model of motherhood

Motherhood is a high calling.  What can replace the love of a mother and a grandmother? The love, guidance and influence they provide to their children are distinct and invaluable. All mothers who wish to be true to their high calling need only look to the woman who became the greatest mother of all.  Born into humble surroundings, she was called by God to be the mother of the Son of God.

Highlights

By Fr. James Farfaglia

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/14/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Sunday homily, Catholic spirituality, Mother's Day, Father James Farfaglia, John Paul II, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Gospel of Saint John, Mary, Blessed Mother


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - For many years, a large number of women in our society have claimed that they do not find meaning and fulfillment in motherhood.  Let us consider for a moment the thoughts of two great men about the role their mothers played in their lives.

George Washington once said, "My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her."

Abraham Lincoln spoke similar words when he said, "All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother."

Unfortunately, many people in our society would not agree with these great men who had great mothers.  Today, many think that their lives have no meaning unless they are employed in the workplace; thus only in this way they regard themselves useful for society.  They consider the role of a stay home mom to be a waste of time. 

However, although the circumstances of some women oblige them to work, today many more married women are finding that staying home and raising their children is the right way to go. 

Motherhood is a very high calling.  What relationship can ever replace the love of a mother and a grandmother?  It is essential for women to realize that the love, guidance and influence they provide to their children are distinct and invaluable.

Another great man who became a great president was Theodore Roosevelt.  Let us listen to what he had to say about the importance of motherhood. 

"Into the woman's keeping is committed the destiny of the generations to come after us. In bringing up your children you mothers must remember that while it is essential to be loving and tender it is no less essential to be wise and firm.

Foolishness and affection must not be treated as interchangeable terms; and besides training your sons and daughters in the softer and milder virtues, you must seek to give them those stern and hardy qualities which in after life they will surely need. Some children will go wrong in spite of the best training; and some will go right even when their surroundings are most unfortunate; nevertheless an immense amount depends upon the family training.

If you mothers through weakness bring up your sons to be selfish and to think only of themselves, you will be responsible for much sadness among the women who are to be their wives in the future. If you let your daughters grow up idle, perhaps under the mistaken impression that as you yourselves have had to work hard they shall know only enjoyment, you are preparing them to be useless to others and burdens to themselves.

Teach boys and girls alike that they are not to look forward to lives spent in avoiding difficulties, but to lives spent in overcoming difficulties. Teach them that work, for themselves and also for others, is not a curse but a blessing; seek to make them happy, to make them enjoy life, but seek also to make them face life with the steadfast resolution to wrest success from labor and adversity, and to do their whole duty before God and to man. Surely she who can thus train her sons and her daughters is thrice fortunate among women."

There is no doubt that motherhood is a very high calling.  But, to whom can mothers look as the real model of motherhood?  Today's modern culture offers many role models through television, movies and women's magazines.  However, often these role models are either all together wrong or they offer a very limited and unrealistic view of true motherhood. 

All mothers who wish to be true to their high calling need only look to the woman who became the greatest mother of all.  Born into humble surroundings, she was called by God to be the mother of the Son of God.  She affirmed her obedience to the call of God and lived out her vocation throughout her entire life.  Mary, the mother of Jesus, our Blessed Mother, is the true model of motherhood. 

"It can thus be said that women, by looking to Mary, find in her the secret of living their femininity with dignity and of achieving their own true advancement.  In the light of Mary, the Church sees in the face of women the reflection of a beauty which mirrors the loftiest sentiments of which the human heart is capable: the self-offering totality of love; the strength that is capable of bearing the greatest sorrows; limitless fidelity and tireless devotion to work; the ability to combine penetrating intuition with words of support and encouragement" (Blessed John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater).

One aspect of Mary's life that has particular meaning and inspiration for many mothers today is the profound suffering that she endured during the passion of Our Lord.  Stabat Mater.  Mary stood at the foot of the cross. 

Divorce, separation, single moms, widows, mothers forced to work out of necessity, grandmothers raising grandchildren, prodigal children and prodigal grandchildren,  are realities that cause deep, daily suffering for many women.  Added to all of these sufferings, is the pain endured by many married women who would like to be mothers. 

All mothers and grandmothers need to find in Mary, our Blessed Mother, the faith, hope, love and fortitude to stand firm at the foot of the cross.  All suffering has power when we unite our suffering to the cross of Jesus.  Take your suffering, united to the suffering of Jesus, and offer that suffering for your children and grandchildren. 

As we honor our mothers and grandmothers on this yearly celebration of motherhood, we also need to consider the essential duties of husbands and children.

Saint Paul exhorts husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 6: 25).  Husbands have the solemn duty to sacrifice themselves continually in their total love for their wives and their children.  Each day provides numerous opportunities for husbands to live out their family life with many acts of patience, kindness and service.

Through loving obedience and the living out of the virtue of charity, children become a joy and not a burden to their mothers and grandmothers, and the children in turn learn to emulate these same virtues. Conversely, children who are self-centered will be unable to love the way that they should.

To be a true mother today is certainly very challenging indeed.  However, our yearly celebration of Mother's Day should motivate all mothers to understand the importance of their call by God to motherhood. 

I am very grateful for the hard work and dedication of the women in any parish that I have been assigned to.  No matter where I have ever been as a seminarian or as a priest, I have always seen the promise of Jesus fulfilled:  "And everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or land for the sake of my name will be repaid a hundred times over, and also inherit eternal life" (Matthew 19: 29).

Concretely, not only have many dedicated women assisted me in my ministry as a priest, I have also received many spiritual mothers and many spiritual sisters that have always taken very good care of me by keeping my refrigerator filled with delicious meals.  

Aside from the apostolic activity that many women provide in a parish family, it is good for a good priest to have the emotional support of spiritual mothers and spiritual sisters.  In order to be fully human, the faithful celibate priest needs to experience the richness of celibate friendships with the women of his parish family.  Life without the experience of the feminine dimension of human reality would be incomplete and cruel.

Women who truly live out their femininity are living icons of the tenderness of God.  The celibate priest reminds women that love is eternal.   Women remind priests that love is not only paternal, but maternal as well. 

On this beautiful day dedicated to motherhood, we must contemplate the reality that God is love.  The Holy Spirit has given us, through the Sacrament of Baptism, the gift of love.  It is through a profound spiritual life that we encounter the Holy Spirit.  In this way, he can give us the ability and the power to love more each day. 

My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will renew the hearts of all mothers so that they can live out their calling to motherhood with a deeper and more generous love within the daily circumstances of their lives.   

In this Sunday's gospel passage we hear these well-known words from Jesus: "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15: 13).  Here, in these simple yet profound words, we find a program of life for the entire family.

----- 

Father James Farfaglia is the Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, TX.  Visit him on the web to learn more about his book, homilies and audio podcasts.

---


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


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Living Faith

St Francis DeSales Challenges Us to Live a Life of True Devotion Watch

Image of Today in our Liturgical calendar in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we remember St Francis DeSales (1567-1610). The Saints are all given as examples to emulate. They are our companions on the journey, men and women like us who responded to God's invitation to become like Jesus. They pray for us because we are joined with them in the eternal communion of love. They also put legs on the Gospel, showing us what holiness looks like.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I say that devotion must be practiced in different ways by the nobleman and by the working man, by the servant and by the prince, by the widow, by the unmarried girl and by the married woman. But even this distinction is not sufficient; for the practice of ... continue reading


Hey Main Stream Media - Do Your Job! Media Bias on March for Life Watch

Image of The hundreds of thousands who gatherred in Washington, DC were virtually ignored by the mainstream media because they gave a voice to children in the womb intentionally killed by procured abortion

By Catherine Contreras

What do you get when over 500,000 people attend the March for Life in Washington DC? Yup. A biased main stream media barely covering it, again. OAKLAND, CA (Catholic Online) - On the 42nd Anniversary of Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in ... continue reading


Arlington Diocesan teachers provide English Language Learners with special support Watch

Image of Fourth-grade students work on personalized language arts activities at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington. (Christine Stoddard, The Arlington Catholic Herald)

By Christine Stoddard, The Arlington Catholic Herald

Step into Sarah Conrad's pre-kindergarten classroom at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington and you'll see the usual suspects: tiny furniture, storybooks, brightly colored posters and educational toys. But you'll also notice that laminated labels abound. ... continue reading


'Self righteousness is not going to change peoples' attitudes and save babies,' Cardinal says Watch

Image of Cardinal Sean O'Malley says that the abortion issue in the United States is a call for those of all faiths to action.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In delivering his homily at the March for Life vigil in Washington D.C., Cardinal Sean O'Malley said that indifference is the "greatest enemy" of the pro-life movement, adding that "to change people's hearts we must love them." Speaking at the Basilica of the ... continue reading


Eighth Annual Stand Up 4 Life Rally|Walk in Oakland, California! Watch

Image of Walk for Life in California

By Catherine Contreras

"If Black lives matter, they have to matter in the womb first. Because if Black lives don't matter in the womb, they don't matter anywhere else. So join us and help us speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves." - Walter B. Hoye II, Founder and President of ... continue reading


Papal Nuncio to Join Walk for Life West Coast! Watch

Image of Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigaṇ

By Catherine Contreras

The Walk for Life West Coast is honored to announce that Archbishop Carlo Maria ViganĂ², the Holy Father's Ambassador to the United States, will be attending the 11th Annual Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco, on January 24, 2015. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Build a Culture of Life! A Rally Cry Was Heard In Los Angeles!

Image of Pro-lifers marched in One Life LA on January 17, 2015.

By Catherine Contreras

 A Rally Cry Was Heard in Los Angeles, California, "Build a Culture of Life! A Culture That Loves Life and That Defends Life!" The Mission of OneLifeLA is to unite communities and inspire positive action through an annual event that promotes the beauty and ... continue reading


Catholics fail to practice 'responsible parenthood' when they have too many children, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis recently praised Blessed Paul VI for defending Catholic teaching against contraception. At the same time, "this does not mean a Christian must make children one after another," the Pope added. In fact, Catholics fail to practice "responsible ... continue reading


Pope Francis confirms stops in Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia in upcoming U.S. visit Watch

Image of The papal itinerary remains in the planning stages. Organizers are already talking about appearances at the White House, the United Nations and Ground Zero, and even a Mass at Madison Square Garden.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has confirmed that his trip to the United States this fall will include stops in Washington, D.C. and New York City, in addition to Philadelphia. Francis told the press that he wishes he could enter the U.S. through the Mexican border "as a sign of ... continue reading


Announcing Ignatius Press books at Catholic Shopping .com - Start your Catholic library today!

Image of Catholic Shopping .com is proud to announce, that we are now carrying a wide selection of Ignatius Press's most popular books.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Discriminating Catholic readers will be excited to know Catholic Shopping .com now carries a wide selection of the best books from Ignatius Press. LOS ANGELES, CA - The story of Ignatius Press is one that began over thirty years ago, and a story that has not ended ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 9:15, 24-28
15 This makes him the mediator of a new covenant, so ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm] Sing a new song to Yahweh, for he has ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 3:22-30
22 The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem were ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 26th, 2015 Image

St. Timothy
January 26: Born at Lystra, Lycaenia, Timothy was the son of a Greek father ... 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