One of the most touching things I have ever read by a Catholic Pope or leader is a document written by Pope John Paul II in 1995 entitled Letters to Women. At the time, I was a young college student working on finding my place in the world not paying keen attention to the climates of the time or the latest papal document. However, through Divine Providence, this encyclical made its way into my hands and left a lasting impression on me. The most memorable aspect for me was the introduction when the Pope took time out to remember “all of us.” Throughout the document he weaves in individual thank you’s, beginning with mothers, next wives, then daughters and women who are sisters, consecrated women and ending with every woman. He thanks us for the simple fact of being a woman!
This document is about bringing women together and helping us appreciate the gift and blessing of each one of us is in light of the Gospel Message. We all are called to join this mission of proclaiming the Gospel Message to the whole world, and one way we can do this is by honoring our sisters in Christ.
Women serve many roles in society, and our Christian unity is essential to proclaiming the Gospel message. Whether mothers, sisters, singles, religious, widows, or teens, we need to support each other and help each other. With this in mind, I must say that our Catholic Christian witness in this dark culture depends on the bridges we build and how we live out our faith in the Risen Lord. For example, when we are friendly, kind, helpful, loving, and grateful for all we have been given, especially our Catholic faith, we will impact others in a way that will spread the Gospel.
When I first read this document, I was in my early twenties, but now, as a “seasoned mother,” my perspective has changed. The reality is, being a mom is challenging. Each woman who embraces the vocation of motherhood has a steep road ahead of her. Each stage in parenting has its joys and sorrows and is difficult enough, so instead of judging or withdrawing from others, we need to take time out to support other mothers and provide a helping hand. I have found over the years that mothers need more mercy and love than harsh judgment and criticism.
If you haven’t heard these words lately, I want to thank you for your “yes” to Catholic motherhood. Thank you for taking your Catholic faith seriously! Please go out of your way to support other women in the “trenches” of life that need encouragement, support, and friendships. In life, it is easy to forget to reach out to others, especially when we might have children still living at home. Motherhood is a gift, and our witness and encouragement can help not only promote the Gospel of Life but change a person’s attitude and perspective on their very dignity and value.
In closing, I want to share a quote by Fr. Michael Gaitley found in my first published book, Divine Mercy for Moms, that I co-authored with a supportive and kind friend. In the Foreword to the book, he shares the value of mothers in light of God’s mercy.
Copyright 2018 Emily Jaminet