Life with kids can be crazy-making, but there is redemption in the chaos. Mariette reveals how Catholic motherhood brings us closer to our salvation. It’s not easy, but the journey sanctifies our hearts.
Motherhood is universally exciting and exhausting, fulfilling and draining, demanding and rewarding.
As Catholic mothers, it can also be something that most people in the world miss: sanctifying.
Your Children Make You Holy
We often associate holiness with the austerities of priests and religious who spend their daily lives completely devoted to prayer and good works. Their lives likely have fewer spiritual distractions and can be very straight paths to Heaven, however Catholic motherhood is a vocation designed for our sanctification as well.
To be sanctified is to become holy, and raising our families will present countless opportunities that we can either waste or use to become saints. Truly it is as if sanctification is built right in to Catholic motherhood.
The Hard Times Are The Important Times
It is easy to be joyful, patient, and kind when our family is getting along and things are going smoothly. Motherhood will be full of these beautiful moments where things are great (and what a blessing those good times are!). But our motherhood is sanctifying when we use all of the challenges and sacrifices it requires to grow in virtue.
There are moments when we want to snap unkindly at our fighting kids, impatiently rush a toddler who never seems to move fast enough, or moan and groan about having to complete the same, monotonous daily routine for the thousandth time.
This is when that built-in sanctification comes in – if we will only accept it. Instead of seeing these frustrations as annoyances that are getting in the way of our happiness, we can choose to see them as the opportunities to become holy.
We can be gentle when we want to be rough, patient when we want to snap, and resigned to God’s will when we need to start the bedtime routine yet again.
It is a matter of re-framing these challenges as crosses to be embraced with a spirit of love and self-sacrifice, without grumbling and bemoaning our fate. (I talked more about this over in this post “Embrace the Cross Today” on my blog a while back.)
Try calmly dealing with a toddler melting down at bedtime when you’re as tired as they are.
Try cheerfully waking up and getting out of bed every morning an hour before the alarm goes off because your early-riser child never sleeps in.
Try remaining calm and firm with a stubborn teenager who relentlessly insists something will make them happy, all the while you know it will only lead to misery.
Try admitting you can’t do it all and accepting help from your spouse, family, or friends when you’re buried in housework and childcare and need a hand.
These times are hard though. It is easy to say we will be virtuous mothers until we are being tried by fire with a demanding toddler or a yelling teenager. How can we rise to the challenge in the difficult instance where we are being asked to die to self yet again as mothers?
This Is Not A Solo Endeavor
We cannot become holy and rightly choose during these hard moments by sheer willpower alone. Our passions are too strong and our wills are too weak. Relying on our own strength will likely result in us being angry, impatient, or frustrated as usual. We need grace!
We must ask God daily to help us be holy mothers. We should make a morning offering every single day when we wake up, giving over all of our prayers, works, and sufferings to Him. We also should ask Him to help us see the difficult moments of annoyance, sacrifice, and self-denial as beautiful crosses to be embraced.
At night make an examination of your conscience, recalling the times you fell that day. Doing this will help you find a pattern in your predominant faults. Are you losing patience and blowing up often? Specifically, ask God to help you be meek and patient. Are you constantly complaining and bemoaning your sacrifices as a mother? Ask God to help you offer those sacrifices up for the salvation of your family.
It is also important to go to confession frequently and bring all of those times we fell short to God. His forgiveness not only brings peace to our souls but also special graces to help avoid committing those forgiven sins again in the future.
Prayer and the sacrament of confession will make a big difference in us being able to embrace these sanctifying moments in motherhood. And here is some good news… virtues are habitual. The more we choose to do the better or holier thing, the easier it becomes. So keep praying and receiving the sacraments, asking God to help you be a holy mother. He will hear you and help you!
We Feel as the Father Feels
As mothers, we are asked to give up so much of ourselves.
We give up our physical bodies by carrying babies, lugging around children, staying up late with them and rising early when they think 5 in the morning is a great time to ask for cereal.
We give of ourselves emotionally when our kids say unkind things to us, wounding our hearts.
As our children grow old and move out into the world we age with our worry lines and graying hairs as they make choices we wouldn’t and learn lessons the hard way.
This is so similar to God. God the Son gave His body for us on the Cross. He watches us, His children, be difficult or stubborn at times. He sees us make foolish choices, and even wounding His Sacred Heart when we choose to sin.
But He is patient with us and His love is enduring. His mercy and kindness is a daily example of the kind of parent we want to strive to be.
We are made in His image and so are our children. Our journey of mothering them can mirror the holiness of God, with His help.
He gave us motherhood.
It is exhausting, fulfilling, and with His grace the daily challenges and frustrations can be sanctifying.
Mariette of The Natural Catholic Mom, is the twenty-something wife of Ethan, mother of Philomena and Zelie, and a devout Catholic, striving for health and holiness in her domestic church. She shares about her Faith, clean eating, and natural living on her blog, Facebook page, and Instagram.
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