Catholic Motherhood doesn’t require perfection. Katie Warner shares how to follow in the footsteps of the Virgin Mary and grow in God’s perfect love.
“Oh my goodness, hon,” I said, looking at my wise and poetic husband. “I can’t believe you stated such an important truth – and one that I needed to hear right now – so beautifully and succinctly.”
“Huh? What are you talking about?” He looked at me with bewilderment. “That quote is all over Pinterest.”
Aside from realizing that my husband is apparently on Pinterest a lot more than I am, I was also reminded that morning that my mothering focus was much more self-centered as of late – not in the sense that I was placing my needs before my kids, but more that I was trying to be “perfect,” rather than “boasting of my weakness” (2 Cor 12:9) and relying on God to make His power perfect in me.
I always have a lot on my proverbial mothering plate (don’t we all?), but how do I dial back to that simplicity of thought and purpose that I crave so deeply as I try to focus on the things that matter most, and less on the things that don’t, as I go about my vocation of motherhood?
Motherhood is Marian
At various times throughout my early motherhood, I’ve struggled to have an intimate relationship with the Blessed Mother. During these phases of spiritual distance, I would try to diagnose why I was distancing myself from the ideal Mother. Maybe out of a weird sense of inferiority? Maybe because of my inability to relate to her truly perfect mothering?
How could I ever be patient as she is patient, pure as she is pure, love as she loves? Mary always prioritized the things that mattered most, right? Why can’t I do that?!
Apparently, Saint Teresa of Calcutta, at least to some degree, felt the same way, or at least she knew that Mary was a big secret to her living out her own vocation to the best of her abilities. The prayer that she prayed has become one of my own most beloved prayers, and it’s changed my motherhood:
Mary, lend me your heart.
The truth is that I can’t – on my own, as I often try to do – be patient like Mary, be full of grace and virtue like Mary, love like Mary.
But if I had her heart…wow. That makes all the difference.
Seeking Mary’s Heart as a Mother
In his book 33 Days to Morning Glory, Fr. Michael Gaitley says that the “heart” refers to “ one’s inner life and the seat of the indwelling Holy Spirit.” It is Mary who brings us the Spirit of Love with which we can love our families and live our vocations as mothers in a way we couldn’t on our own. With my own heart, I flounder and I’m far too self-reliant. With hers, my priorities can be rightly ordered again.
I ask Mary to help me love with the perfect love of her own Immaculate Heart not merely in some poetic, altruistic way, but with firm confidence that she really does want to lend me her heart.
With her heart, I can wash my one-millionth load of laundry with a heart-attitude of joyful service, loving each family member who will wear these clean clothes.
With her heart, I can gently wipe a tear from my toddler’s face, after his world-ending meltdown because we ran out of orange juice at breakfast.
With her heart, I can cook dinner for my family at the end of a long day, not out of obligation but out of gratitude that I can nourish their bodies in such a simple, earthy way.
With her heart, I can write that article or blog post that I feel might just float into cyberspace meaninglessly, recognizing that if only one person is touched by reading it, it was worth all of my effort.
With her heart, perhaps I can love more like she loves.
So Mary, keep lending me your heart. I know I’ll never be perfect, so I’ll borrow the heart of the Lady who is.
Katie Warner is a Catholic wife and mom, author and speaker. She’s a lover of Jesus, intentional living, and practical spiritual leadership at home. A learning enthusiast, recovering perfectionist, and expert kid-holder, Katie offers practical essentials for living the faith more intentionally. You can find Katie online at KatieWarner.com, Facebook, and Twitter.
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