We salute all our Mothers today! The opening sentence in Amoris Laetitia (Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family), offers the perfect context for Mother’s Day: “The joy of love experienced by families is also the joy of the Church.” We are truly happy to celebrate the vocation to motherhood as we honor all Mothers in this Church this weekend. The Pope beautifully describes the impact Mothers have on children: “A mother who watches over her child with tenderness and compassion helps him or her to grow in confidence and to experience that the world is a good and welcoming place. This helps the child to grow in self-esteem and, in turn, to develop a capacity for intimacy and empathy.”
Yes, motherhood is a vocation, a divine call, and not a hobby. You do not collect children like stamps or art works, but it is the divine call by which you become co-creators and sustainers of life with God. Children are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3-5) and the Bible is very clear about the responsibility of both father and mother in bringing up children with right values. The Bible demands several things from Christian parents in their duty of parenting. Some of these are:
Availability – morning, noon, and night (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
Involvement – interacting, discussing, thinking, and processing life together (Ephesians 6:4)
Teaching – the Scriptures and a biblical worldview (Psalm 78:5-6; Deuteronomy 4:10; Ephesians 6:4)
Training – helping a child to develop skills and discover his/her strengths (Proverbs 22:6) and spiritual gifts (Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12)
Discipline – teaching the fear of the Lord, drawing the line consistently, lovingly, firmly (Ephesians 6:4; Hebrews 12:5-11; Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15;
Nurture – providing an environment of constant verbal support, freedom to fail, acceptance, affection, unconditional love (Titus 2:4; 2 Timothy 1:7; Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:1-2; Galatians 5:22; 1 Peter 3:8-9)
Modeling with Integrity – living what you say, being a model from which a child can learn by “catching” the essence of godly living (Deuteronomy 4:9, 15, 23; Proverbs 10:9; 11:3; Psalm 37:18, 37).
That is a tall order! What makes it all the more difficult is the hostile cultural environment in which Christian mothers find themselves fighting to protect their children. Many of the cultural values clash with the Christian values that a mother wants to instill in her children. Hence we need to support, help, appreciate and encourage all our mothers – not just once a year, but everyday! Thank you dear Mothers! Happy Mother’s Day!
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Abraham Orapankal