Saturday, May 8, 2010
Why Annie Lamott hates Mother's Day and why Catholic teaching would surprise her.
I was a tad sad to learn that she believes that Mother's Day celebrates the great lie about women. What is this great lie? That those with children are more important than those without. "Mothering has been the richest experience of my life, but I am still opposed to Mother's Day. It perpetuates the dangerous idea that all parents are somehow superior to non-parents. (Meanwhile, we know the worst, skeeviest, most evil people in the world are CEOs and politicians who are proud parents.)"
I've got good news for my sister. Maybe she'll come to love Mother's Day again. Consider the Genius of Woman as expounded by John Paul II.. A woman by her distinctive creation is inherently maternal and that doesn't necessarily mean birthing babies.
I doubt Mother Assumpta Long has dropped any babies off at maternity wards recently yet she is truly more than metaphorically Mother. Just ask her daughters!
In the Catholic tradition, mothering ranges far beyond obstetrics and gynecology and breast-feeding. Godmothers may be unmarried and childless but they are not without maternity. Consecrated Virgins are learning to birth Christ within them and transmit him as a mother to the world around them. Female religious are neither unmarried nor without spiritual issue.
From a Catholic point of view,"spiritual motherhood" is not just some pacifying euphemism intended to console those without rugrats. No, it is to remember Mary's motherhood of the Church. She is the mother and while she bore a child, Jesus, yet her position as mother of the Church is no less significant, nor is it less maternal.
John Paul II during an Angelus address: "...[Feeling life within the womb] is a privilege of mothers, but all women in some way have an intuition of it, predisposed as they are to this miraculous gift." By this he meant "the acceptance of the other, the nurturing, the generosity and empathy, which are all contained in the vocation of motherhood, but are not the exclusive province of the woman who has physically given birth. All women can know and act in these ways. Spiritual motherhood - which can be undertaken by any woman of any age or position in life - is a vocation within our larger vocation to holiness. When we undertake to mother someone spiritually, we gather that person close to our heart and offer him the special protection we would lavish on our own offspring. To care for his soul becomes our urgent mission. In prayer, we whisper his name before Almighty God. His worries become our worries; when he is tempted or confused or sorrowful, our maternal heart aches with him. And when he comes to know success and joy, we rejoice with him. Realizing we are all members of the Body of Christ, it follows that when we tend to the spiritual health and well-being of one priest, we are helping in some small but significant way to care for the whole flock."
"What is spirtual maternity?"Spiritual maternity is a particular grace of the Holy Spirit by which a woman surrenders herself, body and soul, to the fruitful love of Christ, for the sake of His Bride the Church and for the glory of the Father, so that, through her offering, the particular priest entrusted to her, and all priests, may be purified, healed, and sanctified."
"How does a woman express the grace of spiritual maternity?
at 3:32 AM