Sunday, May 10, 2015


On this Mother’s Day some thoughts from Pope St. John Paul on motherhood from his Apostolic Letter on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: from section VI, Para. 18: The human being - both male and female - is the only being in the world which God willed for its own sake.

This is the profoundly reality that God who IS Love, creates us to be His beloved and infuses within us the capacity to love, to love Him, to love one another and through Jesus this love is sanctified when in particular a man and a woman make the gift of self one to another in holy, Sacramental marriage wherein they cooperate with God Himself in the generation of new life, the life of another beloved person.

The eternal mystery of generation, which is in God himself, the one and Triune God (cf. Eph 3:14-15), is reflected in the woman's motherhood and in the man's fatherhood. Human parenthood is something shared by both the man and the woman…….Although both of them together are parents of their child, the woman's motherhood constitutes a special "part" in this shared parenthood, and the most demanding part…..It is the woman who "pays" directly for this shared generation, which literally absorbs the energies of her body and soul. It is therefore necessary that the man be fully aware that in their shared parenthood he owes a special debt to the woman. No programme of "equal rights" between women and men is valid unless it takes this fact fully into account.

So many women throughout the world often find themselves callously abandoned by men, abused by them, left to care for their children as single mothers, often in extreme poverty; other women live in countries where distorted notions rooted in disordered cultural/religious traditions continue to view women as a type of property; other women, mothers, struggle to care for their children in places of war and extreme violence, frequently living under terrible conditions in overcrowded refugee camps.

As men we need to put more effort into encouraging our brothers, especially young men, to take seriously the duty of fatherhood, to take seriously being husbands, to take seriously what self-gift to other really implies.

Motherhood involves a special communion with the mystery of life, as it develops in the woman's womb. The mother is filled with wonder at this mystery of life, and "understands" with unique intuition what is happening inside her. In the light of the "beginning", the mother accepts and loves as a person the child she is carrying in her womb. This unique contact with the new human being developing within her gives rise to an attitude towards human beings - not only towards her own child, but every human being - which profoundly marks the woman's personality. It is commonly thought that women are more capable than men of paying attention to another person, and that motherhood develops this predisposition even more. The man - even with all his sharing in parenthood - always remains "outside" the process of pregnancy and the baby's birth; in many ways he has to learn his own "fatherhood" from the mother.