Motherhood is both fulfilling and draining, exciting and monotonous, inspiring and challenging, joyful and tiring, fun and ordinary and so on. More important than all of these is the fact that motherhood is sanctifying, or at least it should be.
That’s right! The unrelenting nausea and other ailments of pregnancy, sleepless nights, rocking crying babies, constantly keeping toddlers from harming themselves, soothing children, breaking up sibling conflicts, sweeping crumbs, wiping messes, cooking, cleaning, and countless other duties of motherhood are, in fact, steppingstones to help us get to heaven.
While these all seem rather ordinary to most of us, they are all indeed extraordinary in the eyes of God when they are done with love for our children and for God.
Let’s face it, since the joys and challenges of motherhood are inevitable, we may as well use them to get to heaven!
We must always remember that the path to heaven is narrow, and few enter in the heavenly gates.
However, when we give ourselves entirely to God, we can then rightly give ourselves to our husbands, children, families, friendships and other relationships and responsibilities. In doing so, we will be headed to heaven and able to guide our families and others along as well.
As we mess up, some of us (pointing to myself here) mess up every day, we can dust ourselves off, take a deep breath, sip some water, apologize and, if necessary, run with abandonment to the beautiful Sacrament of Confession. Actually, I have gotten into the habit of going to confession at minimum once a month, sometimes more often. That in and of itself has made me a better wife and mother.
Think of all the opportunities in our day that we can use to gain heaven. How many times can we suffer for the glory of God. How many times can we turn lemons into lemonade. Heavenly lemonade, that is.
This can be especially difficult to implement when life presents challenges to us that seem unbearable, but those are the exact instances when our sanctification possibility is at an all-time high.
Turning our homes into our own Loretos, we can imitate the Holy Family and bring their faith, joy, peace and love into our every thought, word, prayer, action and deed.
Speaking of Loreto, there is no better role model to turn to than Our Lady.
The queen of mothers, the queen of our hearts and the queen of our homes. The original Catholic mom: the Blessed Virgin Mary.
St. Louis de Montfort explains in his book “True Devotion to Mary” that “True devotion to Our Lady is holy; that is to say, it leads the soul to avoid sin and to imitate the virtues of the Blessed Virgin, particularly her profound humility, her lively faith, her blind obedience, her continual prayer, her universal mortification, her divine purity, her ardent charity, her heroic patience, her angelic sweetness and her divine wisdom. These are the ten principal virtues of the most holy Virgin.”
Practicing these virtues daily will not only bring more peace into our lives, but it will also undoubtedly bring us to heaven.
A great way to start is to focus on one or two virtues at a time. Once you’ve mastered those virtues, add another one or two and so on.
Even if it takes the rest of my life, my ultimate objective is to be like Our Lady and to embody her virtues.
There is not one mother, including the Mother of God, who has been spared various trials, sufferings and tribulations.
Thankfully, the Catholic Church has given us tools we can implement that will help us be the best mothers we can be. Some of these tools are daily mental prayer, reading the Bible, praying the Rosary (especially as a family), nightly examinations of conscience, frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist (only in a state of Grace) and regular confession, to name a few.
If you need any further encouragement, read Pope Saint John Paul II’s 1995 “Letter to Women.” While the entire piece is delightful, his paragraph about mothers is especially uplifting.
Saint John Paul II wrote: “Thank you, women who are mothers! You have sheltered human beings within yourselves in a unique experience of joy and travail. This experience makes you become God’s own smile upon the newborn child, the one who guides your child’s first steps, who helps it to grow, and who is the anchor as the child makes its way along the journey of life.”
So, as we mothers continue to wipe up messes, rock babies, sooth our children, sweep crumbs and pick up toys under our feet, let us “mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth.” (Colossians 3:2)