Moments of Love with Mary

– The Spiritual Letter Box –

The Generosity of Motherhood

My mother died a year before my marriage. Even though I loved her very much, it was only after having had a child that I realized that I had not really showed her enough affection.

How wonderful a mother can be!

When I think of mine I cannot hold back my tears. She gave up so much for us eight children in the family. Her meals wonderfully prepared in spite of my father’s modest revenues, the house always well kept, her patience, her kindness in welcoming relatives, the friends who found in her a friend who was all-understanding, the illness quickly surmounted so that she could look after us, her tenderness for ailing children who kept her up day and night, the initiation to prayer which I myself have put aside, etc., all of this comes back to me now.

If she were back on this earth I know I could not refuse her anything. I want to tell all those who have the great happiness to have a mother on whom they can count for good advice, for help, for an encouraging smile, not to underestimate their privilege.

It is true that I am still a young mother, but I know the demands of motherhood. Never have I so understood and loved my mother, and unfortunately she is not here to know it.

I am happy, but the memory of my mother makes me cry.

Come to my aid.

Unsuspectingly, you have described a beautiful facet of motherhood. You write that you are a mother, and happy to be one because you have just lived moments that mark a life. A great generosity of motherhood is not improvised; it is the fruit of a long, slow preparation, from which you were able to profit. This is the starting point of a life well understood.

This preparation was given you by the example you have from your mother. You are quite right; there is nothing more beautiful than a mother’s love. Nearly all poets have exalted, each in his own fashion, the exquisite goodness of the heart of a true spouse and mother. The devotion, the smile, the abnegation, the maternal love has been sung in every musical accent.

For the heart of a true mother is an inexhaustible wellspring; she will sacrifice her personal tastes and preferences; she will conceal her own sufferings in order to alleviate those of others; she does not count the long hours of work, even the hours of the night spent with a sick child. Exhausted by care and fatigue, caught in a web of demands, she can still greet with a smile a sometimes demanding husband, relatives and friends who should stand in awe before the many secret proofs of love which they accept without comprehending it…

From what source does this mother with the heart of gold draw such strength?

The turning of her soul to God, ever more definitively and eagerly, surely became comfort and support to her when, in the evening, the last noises of the house were this peaceful fervor of prayer.

Blessed are you if your childhood and adolescence have been marked by such a witness to the Christian life. It is easier to understand your feeling of helplessness now that your loving appeals receive no response.

Those precious memories become veritable treasures for you. Share them with your growing child. A child has always need of a model, this model which you should follow, with alacrity, and which will stir up in your soul an unsuspected love that will bring you “to give all without anyone owing you a thing” (John XXIII). And you, in your turn, will come to know genuine happiness.

May this sorrowful awaiting of a response, the loneliness for this loved one, be merged increasingly with acceptance in love, to become in your heart a quiet joy and make you better able to perceive the presence and the spiritual aid which your mother can now bring you.


(Review, “L’Armée de Marie”, volume III, no. 8)