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Motherhood Rooted in Joy & Gratitude Latest

Motherhood Rooted in Joy & Gratitude

May 06, 2022 by

Scripture speaks of motherhood as a high and important calling. In fact, God uses the metaphor of motherhood to describe the ways in which He loves and cares for His children. Not all women are called to physical motherhood, but there is more than one way to be generative. Spiritual Motherhood is a sacred and vital calling from the Lord involving a similar disposition to His grace.

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As a new wife and mother many years ago, I asked the advice of my own mother, who told me, 

"Just remember, every day is not going to be champagne and roses!" 

I laugh now, thinking about that conversation. I don't care for champagne, so I've never felt like I was missing much there, but I do enjoy receiving beautiful blooms every once in a while!


The Mystical Bouquet

The blooms of motherhood are innumerable and varied. There are large and small, intricate and ordinary, exquisitely fragrant and not-so-much! Some days they are wild and unruly, some burst with brilliant color, while others are more subtle. In fact, during some seasons, those blossoms can be thorny and downright unappealing. 

Despite such variation, beauty is everywhere in the bouquet of motherhood, even in the difficult seasons. Sometimes we do not recognize that loveliness until it has become hindsight, and we are wizened by time and experience. By then, we wish we had understood it sooner. But one thing is certain: motherhood rooted in Christ soaks up His grace at all times.

Recently I've had the privilege of spending longer stretches of time with my mother while she recovers from some health challenges. This time with her has reminded me of two important virtues that underpin all forms of motherhood. I am blessed  to have grown up - and grown into my motherhood - with an extraordinary mother who lived both of these beautiful virtues freely and continually.

Grandmother and Granddaughter in the Garden - Photo Credit

Joy in the Mystery

The first virtue, joy, is a peaceful sense of contentment that underlies even the most significant cares of our lives. The virtue of Joy is not giddy happiness, or a fleeting emotion derived from temporary pleasure. It has nothing to do with how we "feel" in the moment. True joy is lasting contentment fixed in God's abiding love.

Spiritual Joy is an orientation of the heart. It begins with with awareness that God is at work in our lives - in all things. The trials of life may leave us feeling outwardly anxious, fearful, or even doubtful. When no trials overshadow us, we can still experience seasons of exhaustion, but this does not mean we lack the virtue of Joy.

Disquieting emotions like human doubt and fear creep into our hearts, often against our wills. Yet if we pray, seek God's accompaniment in these seasons, and follow Him by choosing rightly, our faith emerges stronger. Joy is not only nourished by hardships, but flourishes within them if we entrust ourselves entirely to His care.

Once that interior joy of soul takes root in a mother, the blooms of motherhood can thrive. They become so beautiful and so abundant as to spill out upon her children and all those around her.

Hummingbird in Garden - Photo Credit

Gratitude for His Gifts

There are days when dirty diapers, piles of dishes, and a messy home cast a shadow over the ideals of motherhood. There are painful seasons, when wayward children and complex problems we never imagined in our young-mother days threaten to steal our peace. Financial woes, health crises, and other hardships can tempt us to lose our eternal perspective. 

The virtue of Gratitude is the companion of Joy. It resonates from deep within the soul. It enables us to find the richness in a particular moment in time, though maybe not at this very moment!  Regardless of our present circumstances, gratitude is the deep well within us, where we can return to refresh ourselves continually. 

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Gratitude recognizes and honors beauty, goodness, and truth in our lives, regardless of what's happening in the present. Savoring those things in thanksgiving keeps joy alive in the soul. 

Constantly grateful living is not a natural inclination for most of us. It must be cultivated. Ever tried keeping a Gratitude Journal? Any old notebook will do. Start small by jotting down three things you are grateful for at the end of your day. 

They might be as significant as a special event in your life, or as seemingly small as a hummingbird spied in patch of flowers. At the end of the week, go back and read  your lists. You will be surprised at how the lush vine of gratitude can grow in your heart, and how others will revel in its beauty. 

Woman Journaling in Bed - Photo Credit

Blooming in Virtue

Since Joy and Gratitude go hand in hand, it's hard to imagine having one without the other. It's not necessarily the happy people who are grateful. It's the grateful people who are happy - no matter their circumstances. 

When we are joyful, we fix our eyes on God's ever-present love for us, so we are able to find gratitude even in trying times. When we know and nurture gratitude, and teach it to our children, we are all more joyful and more alive in Christ. 

When these companion virtues grow together, they become an extraordinary garden all their own.

A Garden for Mary: Marian Flowers Foster Love for the Blessed Mother|  National Catholic Register

Invitation to Love

God calls us to be joyful and grateful in our motherhood. Biological and spiritual motherhood are invitations to live more fully, more deeply in His love. These vocations are opportunities to surrender and die to self. Motherhood is an immolation of the self on the altar of the Divine.

God calls mothers to take on new identities, living and loving with greater purity of intention. As we sacrifice for others and for Him, we enrich our lives in the process. Motherhood is the guiding of souls to eternity, beneath the tender gaze of God. 

In the garden of motherhood, there are vibrant and playful Pansy days, ordinary but precious Daisy days, exotic Orchid days, tender and fragile Lily of the Valley days, sweet Gardenia days, and yes, there are those ugly poison ivy days. But in every day, all the children placed on our path are His gifts to us, and they are invitations to abide more radically and completely in His love. 

Tray of Champagne & Rose Petals - Photo Credit

Advice from Mama 

Well, Mama was right about so many things. I hope one day to be so wise! Just as she said so long ago, every day has not been champagne and roses, but if we can cultivate Joy and Gratitude in our vocations, we have the makings of a beautiful garden. 

Of course, there is no greater teacher than Our Lady, who modeled these virtues and lived her motherhood deeply immersed in God. She accepted His invitation, embraced it for all of us, and continues to mother us spiritually from Heaven. 

Motherhood is a mystical bouquet of sacrifice, grace, and mercy. Through this sacred calling, God invites mothers to live more deeply in His love. He calls us to be joyful and grateful as we serve Him in the beautiful, wild, and sometimes unruly gardens He gives us.

The Catholic Company wishes all mothers a blessed Mother's Day. May the Mother of God enclose you within her heart. May she accompany you in your calling. May she obtain for you all the graces you need, as you guide to Christ all of the souls entrusted to your care.