A Great Day for Mothers

     Today is a huge day for Catholic mothers.
     First, it is the feast day of Mary Mother of God.  Today we celebrate the vocation of motherhood being re-made, given a spiritual dimension, given eternal and infinite significance.  It is the real Mothers’ Day.  It is the day that I remember how grateful I am that I belong to the only Church or religion in the world that heralds motherhood as a deeply spiritual calling.
     Second, it is the first day of 2018, the year that marks the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae.   This encyclical is the one that reconsidered the Church’s teachings on marriage and openness to life, and even in light of a changing culture, maintained the Church’s ban on artificial contraception.  As such, it is the encyclical that makes Catholic mothers a new kind of saint.  Catholic mothers who adhere to this teaching are a new kind of saint, a new kind of spiritual martyr, a new kind of witness to the faith.
    For me, being open to life has been (and continues to be) a form of giving my life to God, of making an oblation of myself to God.  I have spent most of my married life pregnant or nursing, and focused on someone else at the expense of my personal interests or the development of my skills or talents.  It has been one thousand percent for other people, and negative one thousand percent for myself.  I have not gotten good sleep in twenty years.  I have lived at a frenetic pace for twenty years.  I have not thought about myself for more than about five minutes at a time for twenty years.  Like so many other Catholic mothers, I am the seed that fell to the ground.  My accomplishments are unrealized.  My hopes and dreams are unrealized.  My personal gains are unrealized.  That is all because of the Catholic Church and Humanae Vitae.
    But as the Scripture says, the seed that falls to the ground dies, in order to bear fruit.  The Catholic Church teaches her mothers how to be like Christ, how to carry crosses with Christian dignity, how to give our lives in self-donation for the good of others.  Yes, my self-absorbed self did not get what it wanted.  My ego did not get its appetite satiated.  The dreams confined to my myopic vision did not get realized.  But I have received a broader vision.  I have happened upon new goals.  I have chanced upon new dreams.  And they are better.
    The Church is a good mother to her mothers.  The Church helps her mothers establish lasting impact and have meaningful lives. If only we succumb to her guidance, we may find lasting happiness.
   And one day, we will get some sleep.