A mother’s virtues

Beloved in Jesus Christ, in 1550, a woman very much wanted a child, and finally that child was born, whom she named ‘Camillus.’ But instead of being a joy to her, the boy caused her many sorrows. Camillus had a violent temper, he rarely went to school, and he was stubborn and lazy. Sadly, his mother died when he was only 12 years old.
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From then on, Camillus followed in the footsteps of his irresponsible father. He became addicted to gambling and learned about every sin there was. With his father, he hired himself out for fighting in wars, and – well his life spiraled downward for a long time.
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But after many years of a disastrous life, and after the death of his father, Camillus changed. He wanted to change – to give up his sinful ways, and help others. Eventually he would become famous for his compassion and care of the sick, and we would come to know him today as: St. Camillus.
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Why did he change? What was it, that led him to leave his evil life and become a great saint? If you read books about him, you will find one thing that they always say: He never forgot the love of his mother.
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Today is Mother’s Day, it is a day we think about this beautiful gift given only to some: to be a mother. One need only look through history to see how many great people were influenced by their mother. Thomas Edison said: “My mother was the making of me; I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”
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“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw,’ said George Washington, ‘All I am I owe to my mother.
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And Abraham Lincoln said; “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother.”
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Nowadays, many don’t wish to be mothers; they wish to live only for themselves. ‘My condo, my live-in-boyfriend, my dog – it’s all I need.’
Civilization itself, in Europe and the US is dying, because so few wish to be mothers. No babies, no future.
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Although this is the situation, it is also nevertheless true, that there are still many very good and generous mothers keeping the world alive.
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Mothers come in different sizes, personalities, and styles; there is no ‘one way’ to be a good mother. Some work outside the home to make ends meet, some keep a business from their home. Other moms may do volunteer work in the community, but otherwise are dedicated to domestic work and a near-fulltime raising of children; some oversee the direct education of their kids, as for example in a homeschooling family which can only be done with an energetic, full-time mom at home. There is no one ‘rule’ for how to be a mother.
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For centuries, most families were raised on a farm, and mom was busy with kids and cows and chickens, all at the same time. The Holy Scriptures show us that women were often helping support the family: Proverbs (31) says, the good woman puts her hands to the spindle and makes garments for her home and also sells them; with her own hands she plants a vineyard and she looks well to the ways of her household; her children rise up and call her blessed.’ Would that children today would rise up and call their mother blessed.
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The Church does not insist on any certain way that a mother build up her home, and as we have said, many mothers must work outside the home; today there is plenty of encouragement for this approach; but let us today speak of the loving, domestic work of the home to which many mothers have committed themselves.
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St. Josemaria has said that today there is disdain, even a loathing, for those committed to working in their home; domestic work is ridiculed, and is called ‘exploitation,’ merely because others benefit from this careful work.
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A woman who pours herself out selflessly, putting in long hours at the company office is called ‘dedicated,’ and she is an asset to the company. ok.
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But when another pours herself out, selflessly putting in many hours to make a home warm, and clean, and holy – she is sometimes ridiculed as being a servant to others. But how is being at the service of one’s family of LESS importance than being of service to a corporation and it’s stockholders?
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In the eyes of God, there is no distinction at all between ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ classes of work. The value of one’s work is the amount of love with which it is done, and therefore, it is precisely domestic work in the home for one’s family that really stands out as valuable.
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St. Josemaria, who urged people to sanctify their work, even in the smallest things – he was once speaking to a reporter who questioned the value of homemaking. He said, ‘Let us not forget that although some people consider work in the home as demeaning, it is not so at all. Such work is just as valuable as that of a teacher or a judge.’
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We can and must certainly declare, that too many mothers are not appreciated. The Holy Sciptures tell us: ‘Children, do not forget the birth pangs of your mother (Sirach 7:27) and forsake not your mother’s teaching (Prov 13:1). Yet many good mothers remain in the background, quietly helping the family with little recognition.
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A boy was angry after the laundry. ‘Where are my favorite sports socks?! Did they get thrown out?!’ Then he realized that his mother was mending a hole in them.
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In many ways a mother has to be like God. God pours out his love on us, and often receives no thanks or gratitude, sometimes he is even ignored or insulted. A mother too often does not receive thanks for all the little things she does for her family, or is even taken for granted. But she knows that her treasure is in heaven, and her ‘Father who sees in secret will reward her.’
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Sometimes at a funeral, or a wake service – I say, ‘tell me something about your mother;’ and sometimes what I hear is: ‘Her life wasn’t easy father, when dad was alive, he often belittled her, and we ourselves, too often did not show respect. But it was mom who was the heart of our home, who kept everybody together; she never complained, and touched so many, even the neighbor families.’
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The mother who thinks not of herself or her own needs but of others – this is the heart of a mother who can quietly change the world. And it follows the advice that Jesus gives in the Gospel: ‘No one has greater love than this, than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’
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The world needs generous mothers; it is my prayer that more young women will dedicate their life to raising a family of many children, creating homes of love and safety, where each person feels that they belong. It is from such homes that come the Abraham Lincolns, the George Washingtons, and the saints.
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The Holy bible tells us that a mother has a unique authority over her children, because she has given them life. (Sirach 3:2-6) If this is true, then we should look not only to our earthly mother, but to Mother Mary in heaven.
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St. Alphonsus says that although Mary in heaven, no longer commands her Son as when he was a child on earth, nevertheless her prayers are always the prayers of a Mother, and consequently she obtains whatever she asks.
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Mary, bless our mothers, and obtain the choicest blessings for them from Jesus.

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[Entrusted to St. Joseph]

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