What is it to be a Mother – Father Michael Muller
What is it to be a Mother?
Mothers are destined, by God, to bring up children for heaven. This is their grand mission. What a happiness, what an honor for a mother to give angels to heaven!Would to God she only knew the real dignity and importance of her mission, and comprehended the qualifications in the moral and religious order that best prepare her for the duties of her sublime calling! What mission can be more sublime, more sacred, what mission can be more meritorious before God than that of giving to the young child the primary lessons of religion? There is indeed nothing more honorable, nothing more meritorious, nothing which conducts to higher perfection, than to instruct children in their religious duties. This instruction of children is a royal, apostolic, angelic, and divine function. Royal, because the office of a king is to protect his people from danger. Apostolic, because our Lord commissioned apostles to instruct the nations, and, as St. Jerome says, thus made them the saviours of men. Angelic, because the angelical spirits in heaven enlighten, purify, and perfect each other according to their spheres, and their earthly mission is to labor without ceasing for the salvation of man. St. Peter Chrysologus calls those who instruct others in the way of salvation, “the substitutes of angels.” Indeed this mission of mothers is divine; they are called to carry on the very work of God Himself. Everything that Almighty God has done from the creation of the world, and which He will continue to do to the end, has been, and will be, for the salvation of mankind. For this He sent His Son from heaven, who enlightened the world by His doctrine, and who still continues to instruct His people by His chosen disciples. Those mothers, then, who direct their children in the paths to heaven, who allure them from vice, who form them to virtue, may fitly be termed apostles, angels, and saviours. Oh! what glory awaits those mothers who perform the office of angels, and even of God Himself, in laboring for the salvation of the souls of their children. If this employment is honorable for mothers, it is also not less meritorious for them. What is the religious instruction of children, but conferring on a class of our race, the weakest and most helpless, with inconceivable labor and fatigue, the greatest of all blessings? For while the physical development of the child advances with age, it is not so with the mental; for religious instruction only can develop the noble faculties of the soul. The soul of a child, so to speak, would continue to live enshrouded in Pagan darkness, if the mother did not impart and infuse the light of truth. All the gold in the world is but dross in comparison with true religious knowledge. Our Saviour says: “Whosoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones, even a cup of cold water, shall not lose his reward.”–(Matt. x. 42.) May we not infer that those mothers who bestow upon children the treasures of divine knowledge will receive an exceedingly great reward? If God denounces so severely those who scandalize little children: “But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he there drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt, xviii. 6), what recompense will mothers not receive who instruct and sanctify them? Mothers who give their efforts and means to this object, choose the surest way to appease the anger of God, and to insure their own salvation. They choose the best means of attaining a high degree of perfection. Almighty God gives to each one the graces proper to his vocation. Mothers, therefore, who are devoted to the religious instruction of their children, must rest assured that God will give them extraordinary graces to arrive at perfection. “Whoever,” says our Lord, “shall receive one such little child in My name, receiveth Me.”–(Matt, xviii. 5.) Whosoever, then, believes that our Saviour will not allow Himself to be surpassed in liberality, must also believe that He will bestow His choicest blessings on those mothers who instruct their children in the knowledge of God and the love of virtue. What obligations have not the “angels” of children “who always see the face of the Father Who is in heaven” (Matt, xviii. 10), to pray for these mothers–their dear colleagues and charitable substitutes, who perform their office and hold their place on earth. The children will pray for their mothers, and God can refuse nothing to the prayers of children, and their supplications will ascend with the prayers of the angels. Do you desire, O Christian mother, to be saved? Do you wish to acquire great treasures in heaven, and to attain great perfection in this life?–Employ yourself diligently in the religious instruction of your children. Do you wish to gain the love of our Lord, and to deserve His protection?–Teach your children to fear and love God; you cannot do anything more pleasing to His Divine Heart. It is related in the Gospel that mothers brought to Him little children, that He might touch them. And the disciples rebuked them that brought them. And when Jesus saw it, He was much displeased, and said to them: “Suffer little children to come to me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God: and embracing them, and laying His hands on them, He blessed them.” If Jesus was displeased with those who prevented little children from coming to Him, what love and tenderness will He not have for those mothers by whose means they come to Him? Oh! how consoled will they not be in their last hour, when they shall see the souls of those whom they prepared for heaven, accompanied by their good angels, surrounding their bed of death, forming, as it were, a guard to protect them from the snares and assaults of the enemy!
This is a happiness which those mothers may confidently expect who labor assiduously to give their children a good religious education. Ah! would to God, I say once more, that mothers would understand their sublime mission on earth!
Excerpt taken from Public School Education by Father Muller