Caveat: As I begin this again, I feel it is important to point out that everything that I am writing comes from a Catholic perspective. That is not to mean that the vocation of women only applies to Catholics. Nor does it mean that every word written here is a definitive article of the Catholic faith (though, please, God, every word is compatible with it!) The vocation of woman is for all women, as God Himself created us all. As a married woman, how I know to live it, how I struggle to live it is Catholic because I am Catholic. I am Catholic because I have come to know that the fullness of faith is contained in the Catholic Church. In embracing the scripture and the Traditions of the Church (and the traditions as well) I feel confident that the path to sanctification and salvation that God has laid out for mankind is visible in front of me, as taught by the Church, even when I have to slug out some of the nitty-gritty details in the realm of personality and culture.
If you are a wife and a mother who is not Catholic, I think you will find that much of what I say applies to you.
If you are not a mother or not married, the basic principles can still apply in many ways in your life.
If you are a man, you may find that you can better understand God’s call on your wife (or a future wife), your mother, or your sister and what she may need to strive for to become who she is created to be.
The vision of the vocation of wife and mother is truly a beautiful one. We are the ones who bring Christ to culture, one child at a time. We send Him out into the world by the way we bless our husbands. We create holy sanctuaries within our homes – places that are set apart from the world to nourish and refresh the soul. We provide loving, safe training grounds for soldiers of Christ. We imitate the Holy Spirit by bringing order out of chaos. We imitate Christ by laying down our lives in a sort of “dry” martyrdom day after day.
We are not to be the head of our home, but the heart of it. We have a specific domain that we are to master. It is limited, yet far-reaching We are not to anoint the workplace or world as much as we are to anoint those who must go into that battle daily. We are not to take it upon ourselves to fill the coffers, but to be good stewards of them.
We are to be the thermostat of ourselves and our family: to set the tone, the temperature, the attitude of our home and family life. We are to discipline ourselves and take authority over the atmosphere in our homes and not allow unfettered emotions and reactions to establish the tone. And what is in our homes is what we will find in the world.
“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world.”
~Pope John Paul the Great
Or maybe this says it more clearly:
“If momma ain’t happy
[or peaceful, or what-have-you]
ain’t nobody happy.”
Often this statement is said as a way to promote going out of our way to “make momma happy.” I submit that it is, rather, an indictment of momma! If our attitude stinks, if we’re feeling sorry for ourselves, if we lack peace, if we don’t seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, if we are unfaithful in the things we are given, we will see the same in our homes, our neighborhoods, our towns and our nations.
But what if… what if!!??… we choose to live our lives in such a way that we are at peace? What if we choose to love above all else? What if we, with our whole hearts, seek the Lord? What if our children learn the same by our example? What if give up our lives for Christ’s sake and find them to be more glorious and beautiful than anything we could have mustered on our own? Do we not then have the power to affect change in the world? Do we not have the ability to influence far beyond the walls of our home? Yes! We do!
The absolute best way to become the wife and mother that God calls us to be is to go to the Source and Author of our vocation. God designed human life, human families, marriage and mothers. He didn’t do it haphazardly. He did it deliberately. God established marriage and motherhood and he designed them to be a high calling, a means of sanctification, a channel of grace – flowing both into us from His Heart and out of us to our husband and children.
The secret, then, is this: we must do all things faithfully and with love. And I do mean all things. Everything from planning meals with care to cleaning toilets and washing laundry. From changing diapers to checking schoolwork. Everyday, moment to moment, we are given the opportunity to love and to choose others before self, and in doing so, choosing the Lord above all.
St Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, Doctor of the Church is famous for her Little Way. The Little Way is the simplest path to heaven and holiness and as St Therese teaches us, it is a way for everyone, no matter our status or station in life. We can offer every moment, every joy, every suffering, every duty in love for His greater glory. When we do, we transform the mundane into the beautiful, the holy, the sanctifying. When we do, every single moment becomes a moment of grace, no matter what it is filled with. In God’s eyes, nothing we do is too small or too insignificant if we offer it to Him out of love for Him. Each of these moments will come packed with grace to overflowing to bless us and our families and beyond.
Fr. Charles de Caussade calls it “the sacrament of the moment.” He teaches the consistent abandonment of self to each and every moment, accepting every duty, every circumstance as from the hands of God and responding faithfully and with love. Nothing is too small, to mundane or unimportant.
If every woman determined to do her best to be mindful of the great opportunities that lay before her each and every day, each and every moment, the world would be a better place for everyone. If every woman were determined to seek God in the little things, to be faithful to all things, to love in everything, the world would be transformed.
So, what say you? Are you ready and determined to change the world – one child, one diaper, one load of laundry at a time? Are you ready to see God in every minor detail? Are you ready to offer your whole life as a living sacrifice to the Most Holy God? Are you ready to be that open channel of grace to the souls that the Lord has entrusted to you?
Are you feeling too small for it? Too weak? I know I do. That’s why I remember this:
But he said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly
about my weaknesses,
so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
I would like to encourage you to spend some time in prayer, asking the Lord to give you His vision of your vocation. I’d also like to encourage you think about and maybe write down the details as you come to see them, maybe start a “vocation journal.” Once you begin to form that vision, you can consider how to work out the details.
Until Tuesday –
God bless and keep you and yours.