The motherhood calling.
The ultimate vocation of all time.
Don’t discredit yourself, if you are a mother. You may think you’re leading a rather unexciting life, but the truth is, you’re doing the most important work on earth.
You are shaping the hearts and minds of your children.
As you equip them for their independence in their adulthood, hopefully you’re also pointing them to heaven by your example and your teaching. God entrusts you with His future citizens in His Heavenly Kingdom!
Let me lay out a case as to why the motherhood calling from God remains the most important job anyone can do.
LET’S BUST OUT SOME PHILOSOPHICAL TERMS
Philosophically, following Aristotle and Saint Thomas Aquinas, there remain four causes. They lay out four way to answer the question “why?”
1. The material cause: The stuff something is made of (ex. Wood for a table).
2. The formal cause: What the something is (ex. It is a table, since it has a flat top and four legs).
3. The efficient cause: This is the doer. (ex. There a table, because a carpenter created it).
4. The final cause: This is the motivation. (ex. Tables exist in order for people to place things on them, especially their food while they eat).
The final cause is what I want to focus on. This final cause really goes on, pretty much ad infinitum.
In the example of the table, why is there a table? To let people put their food on it while they eat. Why do they want to eat on a table? They want to spend time together. Why spend time together? They want to express their love for each other… And on and on you can go.**
So why do tables exist? So people would have a place to share their love for one another. You get the idea, I hope.
LET’S APPLY THIS TO MOTHERHOOD
A Rejection of the Gift
Women remain capable of doing something men simply cannot. They possess the ability to bear children.
Yet, rather than rejoice in this gift, feminists from the Sexual Revolution sought to reject this gift. They saw this difference between the genders as an inequality and so something to be avoided, thanks to the advent of birth control and social acceptance of infanticide, called abortion.
Nowadays, women are taught from an early age that they need to be like men.
Predisposition to Motherhood
By rejecting the possibility of being mothers, women are running in the opposite direction for which they were made.
Pope Saint John Paul the Great wrote a beautiful Apostolic Letter in 1988, titled Mulieris Dignitatem (The Dignity of Woman). For all the talk about how much the Church hates women and wants to enslave them to motherhood, apparently no one bothered to read the Pope’s words.
In this letter, he points out, “Scientific analysis fully confirms that the very physical constitution of women is naturally disposed to motherhood—conception, pregnancy and giving birth” (#18, emphasis added).
The later Holy Father points out the obvious. The female body is specially designed for the bearing of children.
Rather than bemoan this and pity the female half of humanity, he instead argues this gives women a special advantage, or predisposition toward loving others that men lack.
“Motherhood implies from the beginning a special openness to the new person: and this is precisely the woman’s part.’ In this openness, in conceiving and giving birth to a child, the woman ‘discovers herself through a sincere gift of self’” (#18, emphasis).
Love means making a sacrifice of one’s self, as the Pope lays elsewhere in the letter and elsewhere in his writings. This “sincere gift of self” to another person is the final cause of our human existence. It serves as the purpose for which we were made. We were made for love.
Thus, a mother’s ability to bear her own children actually develops an attitude within her of openness and affection for all children and all people. Writes the Polish Pontiff, “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” (#18, emphasis added).
Concludes Pope Saint John Paul the Great, “In the Spirit of Christ, in fact, women can discover the entire meaning of their femininity and thus be disposed to making a ‘sincere gift of self’ to others, thereby finding themselves” (#31).
WHY PURSUE MOTHERHOOD?
So, why are there mothers? To bear children, yes. But why do we need children? In order to teach the younger generation how to best live in community. And why is community important? Only in relationships with others can we practice and experience love. Why is love necessary? Because by sharing in love, we will find lasting happiness. Happiness is what we all desire, and we can experience that best in relationship with God.
Everyone is seeking to be happy.
Yet, by rejecting motherhood, the women of the Sexual Revolution think they have freed themselves from bondage to their bodies and to men. Yet, ironically, by doing that, they did not find fulfillment, because love wasn’t to be found. Instead, women exchanged their ability to give of themselves completely and so experience love, in order to be objectified and used by men.
Want to be happy? Then you must practice love. Love is the “sincere gift of self.”
Ironically, giving one’s self in love for another is exemplified, par excellence, in motherhood. This makes motherhood the ultimate, or the end, vocation.
Thus, women have a head start on the road to happiness, the final end for which we are all made, by accepting the gift of motherhood.
Please, share your thoughts on the ultimate vocation, motherhood.
What are your thoughts of the Saint John Paul the Great’s Apostolic Letter, Mulieris Dignitatem?
**Another example could be women who choose to pursue a career over being a mother. Why pursue a career? To earn a lot of money. And what good is a lot of money? To be able to afford to retire. And what good will retirement be? It will allow you to enjoy nice things, you say? Why do you need nice things? To make you happy, you say?
Oh, so you’re pursuing happiness? Do you think happiness comes from possessions or from relationships with people? If you answer the latter, then why not just develop relationships at home by being a mother?