The great vocation of a Catholic Wife and Mother taken principally from the writings of St. Peter Julian Eymard, (Eucharistic Handbook).
‘She must serve her family. – Once penetrated with deep esteem and love for her state, a mother must feel a strong impulse to serve her family. The service a woman renders her loved ones will become for her the form of her life, the substance and center of her virtues, the rule of piety set by God for her sanctification.
The service of her family becomes the form of her life when she surrenders herself to its tasks. The life of the mother is one entirely of dependence. In taking up her state of life, she sacrifices to God her liberty and will. Her life becomes a continuous act of self-denial; and blessed is she when she knows how to make this self-denial meritorious after the example of His Majesty, Jesus Christ, His Blessed Mother, and the saints, who practiced obedience unto perfection, without glory, without condition, without end.
A mother both nurtures and nourishes her children. She is the immediate provider of their daily bread, the first physician of their wounds, and a sweet solace who brings empathic compassion to soothe their sadness and difficulties such that they come to her without hesitation in all their difficulties and trials.
Before birth the parents, especially the mother, must avoid anything that is injurious to the child in utero. After birth the mother should nurse her own child if she is able. Without a legitimate reason, a mother may sin seriously if she neglects this obligation. On October 26, 1941, Pope Pius XII took time out from his busy wartime duties to meet with Women of Italian Catholic Action. His primary concern in this talk was character development, and he explained that it began at the mother’s breast. “This is the reason why,” he explained, “except where it is quite impossible, it is more desirable that the mother should feed her child at her own breast. Who shall say what mysterious influences are exerted upon the growth of that little creature by the mother upon whom it depends entirely for its development?” Many recent studies have reinforced the wisdom of our forefathers that a mother’s milk is the most nutritious food for her child. In particular, it fortifies a child’s immune system, helps excel brain development, and strengthens the bond between mother and child.
Furthermore, the faithful mother will love her children in a Christian manner, that is, in Jesus Christ, Who has said: “Let the children come to me, do not keep them back; the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” His Majesty became a little child Himself in order to make childhood still more lovable and worthy of the motherly care. To be perfect, such a mother’s love is supernatural, tender and generous.
The service of her family becomes the substance of her virtues when she recognizes that God has provided the grace and all that is required for the highest perfection in every state of life. When good works or pious desires interfere with the duties of one’s state, they are not in order, but rather distractions. A mother must then guard herself well against this temptation and never lose sight of the divine end, which the will of God has marked out for her.
The Blessed Virgin Mary never overstepped the bounds of the simple and hidden vocation God had meant for her. She attended exclusively to her humble duties of spouse and mother, to the obscure labors of her poor condition, the simple and little virtues of everyday life. In this she pleased God. Blessed is the mother who knows how to find in her state occasions for the practice of every virtue and the exercise of divine love; she has discovered the kingdom of God on earth.
The service of her family becomes the center of her virtues when she practices the love of God by loving one’s neighbor. In serving her family, she is loving God and neighbor and growing in that love. The virtues of the mother are easily summed up in the practice of kindness and charity.
In seeking kindness in her actions and in her relations with others, she becomes a visible and sensible expression for all, as it were, of the goodness of God, and the sweetness of His fatherly providence; always calm, like the love of God, the divine motive which animates her; always good and condescending, like the divine goodness which sustains her; giving always and looking for no return, since she is satisfied with God; incessantly denying herself; always calm and gentle in imitation of the Most Blessed Sacrament that is the substance and center of the Christian life.
The service of her family becomes the rule of her piety. Since the perfection of holiness consists in the perfect sanctification of the vocation, a mother must direct all her spiritual duties to that end, just as the soldier uses all his science, his weapons, and his strength for the combat. She will, therefore, look upon piety as the supernatural means of sanctifying her state, and she will subordinate the exterior practices of it to her duties. That is why she will make it a point to regulate and coordinate her pious exercises and in such a way as to support her principal duties rather than interfere with them. If she knows how to economize her time and be orderly, she will always find means to foster her piety and attend properly to everything.
In case of necessity, of a pressing demand of charity, she will make it her duty to leave the pious exercise for her neighbors, to set aside the sweetness of prayer and rest for the sacrifice of work, having only one watchword, “God wills it!”
A woman ought to sanctify her family. Not content with only serving her family, a mother must devote herself to it sanctification. That is the portion of the field entrusted by God to her assiduous care that she may in all patience, cultivate and make it yield fruit a hundredfold through the generous zeal of an ardent charity.’
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.