This year, Mothers’ Day coincides with the Sunday of the Myrrh Bearing Women emphasizing the two aspects of motherhood – biological and spiritual.
God, in creating woman, bestowed on her the gift of motherhood. Inherent in every woman is the ability to bring new life into the world and a sensitivity that lends itself to spiritually nurturing others.
For ages, motherhood was the basis of the formation of a new generation. Girls were raised with an understanding of this responsibility and the sacrifice it demanded. Children were welcomed as gifts to the family, even in times of hardship.
Various secular movements, especially in recent decades, have brought about a dramatic change of attitude. Children, once great gifts, have come to be seen by many as burdens that interfere with careers and lifestyles.
What would have happened if Mary had rejected the invitation to become the Mother of God? Our salvation was dependant on her willingness to trust God and to accept His gift.Christian women today can look to Mary for the strength to resist the culture that sneers at women who bear more than one or two children and to overcome the fear of the unknown – to trust in God’s providence, embrace motherhood and restore it to its original dignity.
Mary was biological mother to only one child, Jesus, but she is a spiritual mother to many. Not every woman will become a biological mother, but all women are called to be spiritual mothers. The Desert Mothers of Early Christianity and numerous subsequent saints are excellent examples of spiritual motherhood. Prayer and God’s grace gave them the insight to guide others in their spiritual journeys and the courage to speak the unpopular truth on moral issues.
Such spiritual motherhood is desperately needed today, to defend the teaching of the Church, especially on issues that have been damaging to family and marriage (abortion, contraception, cohabitation) and to be true witnesses of Christian life.
The challenge for Christian women today is to embrace the gift of motherhood, be it biological or spiritual, with joy and confidence in God’s help.