Wednesday, May 10, 2006Diaper by Diaper: Our Path to Love
What a noble task: to be a mother, physical and spiritual, of children! To raise little beings, body and soul, to guide them to sainthood, to give of oneself totally for the life of her family: this is an awesome calling. Amidst the hardest times of noisiness, daily tasks, responsibilities, sickness and more, it is hard to embrace our callings as mothers, to give it our all, offering up to God every moment. But these moments are the moments when we need to remind ourselves that it is not in spite of these tasks that we will grow in love for God, but THROUGH them. Making time for personal prayer on the side when we have a quiet moment is important. But is is equally important to recognize that our work can become a prayer, that every task is a lesson in discipline and an oportunity to make an act of love for our family.
Because my vocation is marriage and motherhood, my children and husband are the primary instruments in my life to lead me to God. I feel so blessed to have housework and a child and a husband all to love and embrace.
This is the humble life which Our Lady of Nazareth lived. She was a wife and a mother. She cooked, cleaned, nursed, changed diapers, and loved her spouse.
"...Nor can we forget our Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, a humble housewife in Palestine, who did all the household chores without our modern conveniences! So, for your own soul's sake, for your health, look upon housework and all manual labor with great dignity, glorified and sanctified by the Holy Family-the Lord Himself, Our Lady, and St. Joseph!"
A child learns so much through watching the mother kneading bread, washing dishes, nursing babies, folding laundry, feeding the little children and changing diapers. - IF done with love. Many people don't look on motherhood as a good thing, but as slavery and captivity, as a burdensome endpoint. How sad. I like to think of motherhood and family life as a beacon of light shining in the darkness: a place of love, life, beauty, and goodness: a place where Christ's love is triumphantly on view. The home is the heart of family life, a place where love can grow: where Christ can enter in and thrive.
Kimberly Hahn, a homemaker, speaker, convert to Catholicism and author of many books, recently wrote a wonderful article for Lay Witness. She writes on motherhood and "Living God's Call in the Domestic Church". She, as we all do, found herself momentarily frustrated by the tedious tasks of laundry and other daily duties in the home. But, all in a moment, she recognized that through these tasks she was being given opportunity after opportunity to love her children and husband through the washing of their clothes. In the article she then goes into our callings, witnessing to the gospel and more. To read the article, go to www.cuf.org and look up the May/June 2006 issue. (It will probably not be available to read until June, but the hard copy is out. Some bits from Kimberly's article which struck me are below. She writes:
~ "I realized, with gratitude, that though the work was repetitive, God's work on my mind was not. Through the mundane work of a homemaker, He was fashioning a home in my heart where love could be expressed in numerous acts of kindness, including laundering the same shirt..."
~"Many of the tasks of married life don't seem very spiritual: taking out the trash, doing the laundry, cooking, cleaning, carpooling, helping with homework- yet every task can have a spiritual dimension, provided we do it with great love."
~"We were made by Love Himself, for Love. For those of us who are married, we have been called to be a living reflection of Him to our spouse, our children, and to those touched by our family. Before we can love our spouse or children properly, we need to cultivate our love for God. He must be our deepest love from whom we draw all our strength and the grace to love others well. We may have all kinds of natural virtues, good habits, and a kind nature, but we will not raise a godly family without the grace of God."
~"The love of husband and wife is the wellspring of love for the entire family. The greatest need of our children is to experience the love of their parents for eachother."
~Sia writes from Vancouver, WA