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  • Writer's pictureLauren

Mother Love: Parenting as a Steward

Updated: Apr 14

This is the second installment of a ten-part series on "The Ten Commandments of a Christian Education" found in Mother Love: A Manual for Christian Mothers.

2nd Commandment: Thou shalt look upon thy children not so much as thy own, as the children of God. This they have become through baptism. Thou shouldst deem it thy special and highest duty to rear them as His children in the way of perfection.

I am currently reading Talks with Our Daughters by Sister M. Eleanore, C.S.C., Ph.D., with my eleven-year old daughter in Adoration. We enter the silence of the Adoration Chapel, kneel and pray for a it, and then she quietly reads a chapter to herself, then I read the chapter. We discuss it in the car on the way home, and it is helping to renew in me the awe and glory and terrifying responsibility of raising these little souls the Lord has entrusted to me.

The first chapter is entitled "The First and Only You," and I think I cried at least five times trying to make it through the chapter. "Generation after generation has lived and died upon the earth; generation after generation will live and die upon the earth: but you have never before lived among men, and another you never will live among them in the years to come. How wonderful, the, how important is this first and only you," Sister M. Eleanore writes.

She goes on to describe how you are "infinitely loveworthy," how "[l]ong, long before the first star was set in the firmament, long before the earth brought forth its first green herb, you existed in the heart of your eternal Lover. ... He made you simply because His love willed you into existence," and you are loveable not because of anything you can do or can offer, but simply because He loves you infinitely, eternally, and unchangingly.

The ethereal beauty and joy with which she writes then turns serious as she notes that being loved by such a Lover necessarily imposes certain obligations upon the beloved: namely that "there is a special human life on earth that you alone can live, and there is a particular work in the world which you alone can do." Just as a single leaf in a forest is a little thing, the moment the first leaf falls to the ground at the approach of winter, something of the beauty of the whole is forever lost. Just as one star is a little thing amongst the millions of the night sky, the loss of one single star or one single planet in its orbit would throw the whole into chaos, and something eternally would be lacking.

The writing is quite breathtaking, as you can see from this small sample, and I do not wonder that I am getting more out of it than perhaps my daughter is! I gaze at her with new eyes, contemplating in wonder the hidden secrets of her soul and the plans God has made for her and only her from before the beginning of all time. I tread barefoot, for I am on holy ground, as I behold my daughter, more child than woman, yet more womanly than child with each passing year. And oh how the years pass so swiftly!

I am brought to my knees at the thought. "Lord, you know my faults, my wounds, my failings. You know this task is so far beyond me! And yet, and yet -- you have placed this precious, tender soul in my hands. Have mercy on me and fill me with your grace!"

My solace is that though He has entrusted the precious, jewel-like souls of my children to a sinner such as I, He loves them far more than I ever could. He desires their salvation far more than I ever could. His hopes and dreams for them are eternal and are so far beyond the most beautiful hopes and dreams I could ever have for them. And somehow, in some mysterious, unfathomable way, I am necessary for their salvation, and they are necessary for mine. From before all time when He dreamed of my children, He also dreamed of me, and placed them in my womb and no one else’s because He knew we were to be part of each others' paths to sanctity. It is far beyond my comprehension, but it is so, and I know that He knows what He is about.

What a glorious and sublime vocation this motherhood is! How terrifying, and how wondrous! If I could but hold this Truth in my mind at all times and tread so gently and carefully about my day as I nourish to these tender souls!

How different would my day to day be if whenever I gazed upon my children, I could always see with clarity past the flesh and glimpse instead the eternal soul hidden within? A soul that is ageless and immortal - not a "child" soul juxtaposed with my "adult" soul, but two eternal souls having their source in the same Father and having their ends in the depths of that same Trinity, shooting like rockets together deeper and deeper for all eternity into the Heart of God Himself.

Lord, it is the most special and highest duty to rear these souls as Your children in the way of perfection. Be mindful of your handmaid, Lord, for I am weak, and Your Love is more than I can comprehend and far more than I can bear. Nevertheless, shatter me with Your Love, and may it pour through me, unhindered, to quench Your thirst in the souls of my children. Amen.

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