If Mary, who was the Mother of God, can be his handmaid, taking delight in serving others, I can certainly strive to be a handmaid, too. Within my vocation of motherhood I will find a deep and lasting peace when I become intimately united to Christ while striving to be a servant to others, especially within my own family. Through the gift of myself, I receive so much in return—much more than I can ever imagine.
A life of prayer is necessary to come closer to Jesus and to understand God’s holy will for my life. Prayer and the many graces that are bestowed upon me in my vocation will ultimately give me the necessary strength to carry out my duties within my household, as well as to increase the love for my family.
It would be a lie to convey that a mother’s daily life is only one of blissful loving embraces and constant “warm fuzzies.” Motherhood is intrinsically beautiful, but while she is in the “trenches” with whiny demands, diapers, overflowing hampers of dirty laundry, and the constantly refilling kitchen sink, mothers know that the feeling of love for her family may not always emerge easily in every circumstance. It will, at times, come through the sacrifice of giving of herself and her decision to remain faithful to her vocation. A mother decides to love and to continue to love her family in God’s plan for her salvation and the salvation of her family. Through a mother’s loving service, God is at work sanctifying her soul when she thoroughly surrenders her heart to his holy will.
When life seems difficult within the family, I have recourse to the Blessed Mother who was human like me and will truly understand my problems. She will intercede for me; she is waiting to hear my prayers. Mothers can learn from Mary who is an example of one who listened to God and allowed the Holy Spirit to inspire and guide her. I can learn from Mary that a mother’s prayer is powerful. When I am asked to endure suffering or pain within my role as a mother, I can turn my thoughts to Mother Mary and ask her assistance and intercession. Throughout difficulties, and while trusting in God during particular situations within my homelife, I can meditate on Mary’s faithful trust in Our Lord and in the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When I experience the deep joy in my role as a mother, I can feel an affinity with Mary, who experienced deep joy in mothering Jesus.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta taught me to say a very simple but poignant prayer to the Blessed Mother. She said, “Mary, Mother of Jesus, be a Mother to me now.” Let us invoke her often.
Let us also pray along with Blessed Teresa of Calcutta that the words in John’s Gospel, “love one another; even as I have loved you” will “not only be a light to us, but also a flame consuming the selfishness which prevents the growth of holiness”—so that love will permeate our vocation of motherhood.
“Holy Mary, Mother of God, our Mother, teach us to believe, to hope, to love with you. Show us the way to his Kingdom! Star of the Sea, shine upon us and guide us on our way!”—Benedict XVI (Spe Salvi (Christian Hope), November 30, 2007)
Dear Blessed Mother Mary, please open my heart to see the holiness within my vocation of motherhood. Please guide me each day as I guide my children towards Heaven. Help me to have the courage to strive to serve others as you did, rather than expect to be served. I pray that I may also be a “handmaid of the Lord.” I pray for the courage to say to the Lord, “be it done unto me according to Thy Word.” Teach me, please, dear holy Mary, and bring me to Your Son Jesus. Amen.
Copyright 2009 Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle
This passage is excerpted from Donna-Marie’s book The Domestic Church: Room by Room A Mother’s Study Guide and has been reprinted with the author’s permission.