Thursday, May 8, 2014

quick takes about mothers

“To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labours, and holidays; to be Whitely within a certain area, providing toys, boots, cakes and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can imagine how this can exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone and narrow to be everything to someone? No, a woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.” ― G.K. Chesterton

"As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right—which is why we may feel invisible some days. But one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers."
“The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral—a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body. The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God’s creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature; God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation. . . What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this; to be a mother?” --- Joszef Cardinal Mindszenty
“Especially you mothers: think of Hannah’s example; look at what she did. She brought Samuel, her only son, to the temple, when he was only an infant! Who among you would not rather have a son like Samuel than one who became king of the whole world ten thousand times over? ‘But it’s impossible,’ you say, ’for my son ever to become as great as he.’ Why is it impossible? Because you don’t really want it; you won’t entrust him to the One who is able to make him great.”

“Let everything take second place to our care for our children, our bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

“Don’t strive to make him [your child] a clever orator, but teach him to love true wisdom. He will not suffer if he lacks clever words; but if he lacks wisdom, all the rhetoric in the world can’t help him. A pattern of life is what is needed, not empty speeches; character, not cleverness; deeds, not words. These things will secure the Kingdom and bestow God’s blessings.”

“Your children will always be sufficiently wealthy if they receive from you a good upbringing that is able to order their moral life and behavior.”

“For indeed a house is a little Church. Thus it is possible for us by becoming good husbands and wives to surpass all others.”

“When we teach our children to be good, to be gentle, and to be forgiving – all attributes of God; to be generous, to love their neighbor, to regard this present age as nothing, we instill virtue in their souls, and reveal the image of God within them. This, then, is our task: to educate both ourselves and our children in godliness; otherwise what answer will we have before Christ’s judgment seat? …Let us be greatly concerned for our wives and our children and for ourselves as well. The good God Himself will bring this work to perfection, so that all of us may be counted worthy of blessings He has promised.”
-Saint John Chrysostom
I find inspiration in all the sentiments above. I see my mother- as a mother and a grandmother- living up to them. My mother-in-law lives up to them. I remember my grandmothers living up to these words in so many ways. I look at my sisters and sister-in-law- all who are Godly women who are embracing the challenges of motherhood and doing a splendid job at their vocation. The one mother in my life who falls terribly short is I.
What answer will I have before God's judgement seat when I have to defend my shortcomings, my laziness, my short temper, my lack of energy? Now, one of my sisters says "never judge your insides with someone's outsides." This is true. But it is also true that I can be astonished with what the women in my bubble accomplish and then I look at myself. I suppose, even at 42, I have a lot of growing up to do and I need to stop comparing..but really- she is that thin and fit, pregnant with baby #7?....her children really converse fluently in French?...the cool group is closed to members...I'm not Catholic enough for some...I only have a Master's and will be unemployed in a week...she just looks so effortlessly chic...the green-eyed monster has got me- help me, Lord....The past two weekends have been great, believe it or not...but I haven't written about them...I'll get over myself...

12 comments:

  1. My prayer for you is that you take to heart the wonderful truths expressed in the above quotes from the wise. There is so much beauty in your soul and this I know is that you are a great mom and wife and daughter. We must look to the Cross when we doubt our worth. Thank you for the beautiful words. I needed them to set me straight too.

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    1. Intellectually, I know that we all fall short- but unless a mom is really really abusive (and thankfully, I don't see this often) the only person I KNOW falls short and how is me

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  2. Sorry, I wholeheartedly loathe that Chesterton quote. I think he is way off mark there. To have productive work is a general human need. While caring for other people certainly involves working, motherhood is a relationship, not a job and children aren't the product of our laboratory but individuals in their own right.

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    1. labor not laboratory. Bad Autocorrect!

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    2. I still like the quotation...but I see where you are coming from! It IS a little like those calculations that say a stay at home mom is 'worth' $150,000 or whatever because they do the job of cook, cleaner, nanny, driver, etc...

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    3. I don't want to get into a debate over the Chesterton quote, but I think he is right on and that your interpretation of what he was trying to get across is incorrect. I love the quote ! And thanks for the beautiful pics of your good mom. Prayers for your job situation and you are a great mother.

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    4. Isn't my mom's hair AWESOME? This was in 1974 or so...in the late 60s she wore it short and styled...but she was made for 'hippy' hair!

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    5. The essay from which it springs is not terrible, although I'm not up to discussing the essay typing out comments on a tiny phone screen.
      However this specific quote is routinely used as an emotional bludgeon against women who work outside the home, and it just drives me crazy. Especially after the day I've had, unable to put down the baby and with the boys screaming at me in stereo all day. To have men hurling this quote at me and tell me my world is broad and I'm liable to throw things.

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    6. geeklady- it's an impossible task- to appreciate motherhood without giving women guilt trips for those times they are doing something besides children and home. But I have experienced a bit of- why don't you also havea day care if you are going to be home all day attitudes....I'd rather not- I suppose in an emergency...

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  3. Priestwife, friend, write about those great weekends! Only a Masters! Bah, who cares? Unemployed? Does that mean that you are not going to be teaching in the fall? God seems to be handing you a lot of changes, dont worry about the chic mom, spend quiet time figuring out where God is calling you to do things differently. I have been praying for you because it seems this is a turbulent time for your family. You have the most excellent husband and truly wonderful kids(due in part to your careful attention to their upbringing) and your parents and siblings are all great. Dont be sad! I know, easier said than done. Praying for you! Love you! Friend in Oregon

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    1. Thank you for your kind words- about being unemployed- I was underemployed this past semester- only 1 class instead of the normal part time 2- now, my dept chair has so kindly given me an 'outreach' job...equivalent to half a class- so...I should only be working 3 hours a week...but if I am to be successful, I should do more (but get paid for 3 hours...)

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  4. Happy Mother's Day GOOD mother !!

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