The Mother in Every Woman

I recently read and wrote about St. John Paul II’s apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem. It was a timely read, as May is the month we celebrate both mothers in general and our own Mother of the Church, Mary. But it was also timely for me because I have been reflecting on the idea of motherhood in culture today. The letter was such a life-giving exhortation to me of “the dignity and vocation of women,” and one of the main themes that runs throughout is the fact that every woman is created for, and is therefore called to, motherhood.

It doesn’t matter if you are 6, 16, 36, or 60. It doesn’t matter if you are poor or rich. It doesn’t matter if you are single, married, or consecrated to religious life. It doesn’t matter if you are blessed with many biological children or struggle with life-long infertility. Every woman was created with the capacity to birth new life. Not every woman will birth or raise children, and those who do will not do so in every stage of their lives.

Regardless of the stage of life, or the limitations of our circumstances, or the particular vocational call — every woman is called to spiritual motherhood throughout her entire life, and this truly is our unique and defining vocation as female human beings. We have lost the significance of this purpose. As a culture, we view motherhood in so many mixed up and problematic ways. But our view of fatherhood is skewed as well. Why? Because I think we have missed the point of being human in our world today. Continue reading “The Mother in Every Woman”

Breaking Through the Wall

“I hate Lent!” was the exclamation that came from our almost-six-year-old’s mouth the other night. He was overcome with sudden despair because we denied his plea for dessert. It’s funny that he was being so dramatic; it’s not like this was the first day without sweets. We were three weeks into Lent; but perhaps three weeks was his breaking point.

“I hate Lent!” Ty whimpered. “That’s kind of the point,” my husband replied humorously. I chuckled. Ty didn’t find either of our responses comforting.

I started thinking about the exchange. Ty was “feeling the burn,” so to speak. The spiritual exercise of self-denial wasn’t very novel anymore, and his self-discipline and self-control were waning. For a child, it’s probably equivalent to a weight-lifter at the gym after multiple sets. At the beginning there’s a lot of enthusiasum. The first few reps aren’t bad; they might even feel good. Then fatique sets in…then mental exhaustion, and the thought of one more rep is terrible. Continue reading “Breaking Through the Wall”

Fast, Pray, Give…in Secret

Today is Ash Wednesday, the start to our 40-day season of Lent. I know that we have all been considering (prayerfully) what it is that God wants us to commit to prayer, to give, and to fast from during this time. However, I notice a trend that may not be good. We have a tendency to be a little too vocal about our fasting, praying, and giving. In fact, conversations will often turn to the topic: “What are you giving up during Lent?”

Today’s Gospel reading squarely challenges us being too “sharing” about our Lenten sacrifices. Jesus, in Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18, gives us clear guidelines for how we should approach giving, prayer and fasting. He generally warns us: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them.” Continue reading “Fast, Pray, Give…in Secret”