Thursday, 31 October 2019

Motherhood. Our Path to Holiness

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As the end of October approaches the arguments over Halloween start up again year after year without fail…but as the sun dawns on the next day, Catholic Mothers all over the world unanimously agree on celebrating together with the community of Saints their feast.

Sleepless nights, sick children, younger and older children, stressful days, long days with husbands away for work, or with constant long working hours... stay at home mothers, working mothers, single mothers. Mothers of many or mothers of none… 
Motherhood is the greatest challenge of our time.

In a world that encourages instant gratification and everything for the pleasure of the self… motherhood comes almost as a form of masochism… why would anybody give up their life and comfort for another person who is going to require one’s full commitment … body and soul for 20 years minimum? 

All Saints’ day comes as a reminder that we were not made for ourselves but for God’s Glory. The life of the many Saints who have gone before us witness that ‘there is no greater love than to give your life for your friend” it might suggest that in a way mothers have been given a preferential path, not an easier one, but certainly a clearer one towards heaven… a path that, daily, asks everything of themselves, unceasingly. And without rest.

St Therese of Lisieux once said that ‘God is amongst the pots and pans’... but most days that is very hard to believe. Will the neverending folding of the washing and the continuous mess truly bring a mother closer to God? In the suffering of labour, she clearly finds herself close to Christ …physical pain seemed almost easier to bear than the real struggles of a hard unchanging routine of a house that’s too small to contain the life of a family. There is no glamour in the hidden life of a mother and this path to holiness seems to lack heroism.

It is too easy to fall into the trap of feelings of worthlessness and desire of a ‘ higher’  life, of holiness and contemplation. It is almost inevitable for 
Mothers to feel isolated and disheartened … alone in their vocation. In this world that often rejects life, the bearers of it are the ones who feel the struggle most keenly.

Following the life of the Saints one can’t fail to notice the wonderful connection between them all and how holiness is so attractive to the point of becoming contagious. One only needs to look back at St Francis and how his outpouring love for Christ touched the lives of so many around him.

It was to support mothers, strengthen them in the Faith and journey together towards holiness that, Catholic Mothers, a little online community based in London was founded in 2014. Within a few years the facebook community has blossomed into an incredibly active international group.  With members from every nation, the group never sleeps, the wall is filled day and night with prayer requests, requests for practical advice and support as well as encouraging scripture passages and of course some good old Catholic humour.

The Catholic Mothers Facebook group has also become a place where more serious questions are addressed, a place where serious moral or marital issues are raised and where members and moderators ensure that proper answers are delivered.

Mothers are helped in suffering, encouraged in virtue, sin is called by name and members see miracles happen before their eyes knowing that there is no irregular or complicated situation that cannot be solved because the Church is a wise and older mother who has the answers.

Seeing and sharing as much or as little as members want to, helps mothers to see that they are not alone in their struggles and that the path of holiness on which God has placed them, though unique, shares some common grounds. Ours is a calling to give ourselves completely, without holding anything back like Our Lady did … So it happens when a Saintly mother pops up in the group, makes a comment, shares a picture and in her written words the light of Christ is reflected, the entire community rejoices and the desire of holiness is lit in those who touch that life.

To reach out to more and more mothers and transmit the need to truly finding Christ in our vocation Catholic Mothers has lately joined the  vibrant prayer community Hozana, with the same aim to bring people closer to Heaven.

With the upcoming feast of all Saints, the Catholic online community joins forces to remind mankind that God wants to make us holy where we are and that together with the Saints who have gone before us, if we truly believe and abandoned ourselves to the will of God, we too one day will share in (no longer virtually but in the most real way possible) the heavenly banquet.

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