Saturday, February 23, 2008

True Motherhood

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Behold Thy Mother

In God's infinitely wise designs, He has given every mother a very great share in the creation and nurturing of other human beings made in the image and likeness of God Himself. In fact, the all-powerful Son of God chose to come into the world by being born of a woman, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Despite this awesome privilege of motherhood, the modern woman, with the help of modern man, has debased and forfeited her great God-given calling.

The purpose of this work is to help stem the great damage done to motherhood and womanhood and to help reestablish her on her rightful pedestal of innocence and queenly modesty as well as to provide a brief look at the numerous falsehoods of the modern atheistic sexual standards which undermine the true value and dignity of a mother and of a woman.

In this day and age it is difficult to realize our true God-given dignity as a man or as a woman especially since life has become so cheap and the basic spiritual realities of life have been disregarded or forgotten including the shortness of time, the length of eternity, the greatness of heaven, the horrors of hell, and man's immortality. It is very difficult today to follow God's laws especially regarding purity which safeguard and protect the value and dignity of life and all that pertains to creation itself. We are bombarded with an avalanche of filth from our media and modern environment which poisons our minds, befouls our im­aginations, and sullies our hearts.

Thus, we need a reverse bombardment or at least a frequent or periodic taste of the true and lasting values of life to counteract today's widespread perversions and moral blackout. We cannot appreciate something that we know little or nothing about. With the help of God through the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin and Mother and all the angels and saints, may this work provide a small taste of the greatness of the Mother of God and of all mothers throughout the world in all ages.

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BEHOLD THY MOTHER - (Motherhood)

God's Greatest Creature
The greatest creature and masterpiece that Almighty God has ever created is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of His only begotten Son. She was made perfect and complete, conceived without sin, for it was inconceivable that the mother of the infinite God Himself should ever give any part of herself to Satan through sin. St. Louis De Montfort tells us, "It was only through Mary that God the Father gave His Only-begotten to the world. Whatever sighs the patriarchs may have sent forth, whatever prayers the prophets and the saints of the Old Law may have offered up to obtain this treasure, for full four thousand years - it was only Mary who merited it and found grace before God (Luke 1:30) by the force of her prayers and the eminence of her virtues. The world was unworthy, says St. Augustine, to receive the Son of God directly from the Father's hands. He gave Him to Mary in order that the world might receive Him through her" (True Devotion to Mary). For it was only after God asked Mary's consent, her fiat', by one of the first ministers of His court, did God the Son descend into her virginal womb, as the New Adam into His terrestrial paradise, to take His pleasure there, and to work in secret marvels of grace.

Who Is She?
Who is this woman with whom the infinite God spent nine months in her womb, thirty years with her hidden from the eyes of men, and only three years with the rest of the world? Who is this woman whose love of her Creator and Lord is so great that if her love of God was placed into a balance on one side and on the other side was placed the love of God of all the men throughout time and even the ardent and burning love of all the angels, hers would outweigh ours by far!? "For Mary alone found grace before God without the aid of any other mere creature; it is only through her that all those who have since found grace before God have found it at all; and it is only through her that all those who shall come afterward shall find it" (True Devotion to Mary).

Mary's God-Given Role - On Our Behalf
Since Mary was the Mother of Jesus, the Head of the Mystical Body, in the physical order, she would be the Mother, in the spiritual order, of all those who form one body with Christ. Without Mary's physical motherhood there would be no Incarnate God; without Mary's spiritual motherhood there would be no elect among men.

Mary Our Way to "the Way, the Truth, and the Life"
Mary is our way to God's unfathomable mercy and she is God's way (excuse) to give us His infinite (undeserved?) mercy. Just as a child goes to his mother to obtain pardon or a favor, so too, the true children of God confidently go to Mary, their heavenly Mother, in true humility and love. For who are we as base and sinful creatures to think that we (or our offerings) are good and pure enough to go straight to Jesus, the infinite Son of God, before Whom even the stars are not pure? Our prayers and offerings are so often tainted, knowingly or unknowingly, with selfishness, pride, and other maladies of the soul. The true knowledge of realizing in honest humility who we are and who Jesus (our God!) is, will lead us to seek a go-between or intercessor to perhaps soften our just Judge and placate His just anger regarding our presumptuous pride or our despairing self pity. Thus as St. Louis De Montfort tells us, "let us pray, then, to our dear Mother and Queen, that having received our poor present, she may purify it, sanctify it, embellish it, and thus render it worthy of God. All that our soul possesses is of less value before God, the heavenly Householder, when it comes to winning His friendship and favor, than a worm-eaten apple presented to the king by a poor farmer in payment of the rent of his farm. But what would such a farmer do if he were wise, and if he were well liked by the queen? Would he not give his apple to the queen? And would she not out of kindness to the poor man, as also out of respect for the king, remove from the apple all that is worm-eaten or spoiled, and then place it in a gold dish and surround it with flowers? Would the king refuse to accept the apple then? Or would he not rather receive it with joy from the hands of the queen who favors that poor man? "If you wish to present something to God, no matter how small it may be", says St. Bernard, "place it in Mary's hands, if you do not wish to be refused"." (The Secret of Mary, by St. Louis De Montfort)

Mary - Truly, Personally - Our Mother!
Thus it is important for each of us to have a frequent and spontaneous child-like trust and love of our heavenly "Mother of Perpetual Help"; not some kind of a vague idea of her as an adopted Mother or a mythical Mother whom we cannot see, or touch, or know directly. For Mary's motherhood of each of us is far greater than even the motherhood of our natural mothers. Mary communicates to us the very life of God, supernatural life, throughout our lifetime to be born into eternity from the warm and secure womb of Mary; whereas our natural mothers can only give us natural help and comfort for part of our lives. A natural mother cannot restore life if her child dies. But Mary can restore supernatural life many times - as often as we her children pray to her for the grace of repentance and a good confession.

Unimaginable Suffering For Each of Us
But just as our natural mothers brought each of us into the world through the pains of natural childbirth, so too, Mary brought forth each of her children in the spiritual order amid far greater pain and anguish thus making every man a debtor to her in a special way. For her love for each of us was and is far greater than all of the love of all other human mothers for their children combined throughout time! The astounding price that Mary paid for each of us in union with her Divine Son by delivering up her Son for us, merited for her to be the Mother of all the faithful as proclaimed and confirmed by Christ on the cross when He said to her, "Behold thy son", and to us represented by St. John, "Behold thy Mother" (John 19: 26-27).

Deep Yearnings For A Mother
Every human being has a spontaneous idea and need for a mother. We think of the earth as "Mother Earth" or "Mother Nature" since it sustains us with our natural needs of food clothing and shelter. We think of the Church as Holy Mother Church (synonymous with our Lady) who supplies our spiritual needs. Much of this natural feeling or desire for a mother comes from our early existence even before birth while still in our natural mother's womb. For even in the womb, as we grew and even sometimes moved our small legs and arms around we were subconsciously aware of the warmth and security we had. And then after birth to be comforted, cared for, and to be nursed at our mother's breasts further enhanced our contentment and longing for this precious love of our mothers.

Motherhood - Cardinal Mindszenty
The late Cardinal Mindszenty's beautiful words reinforce our deepest concept of motherhood: "The most important person on earth is a mother. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral - a dwelling place for an immortal soul, the tiny perfections of her baby's body. The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God's creative miracle to bring new saints to heaven. Only a mother can ... What on God's good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother". Amen!

Alibis to Deny Life Itself
But despite this high calling of motherhood, the dignity of woman has been almost completely discarded and forfeited due to thinly masked rationalizations of overpopulation or that to bring children into a world so warped and wicked would be to inflict upon them a cross greater than that born by Christ Himself, and in deference to Christ they will neither pollute the world with new life nor shackle the child with slavery and servitude to a world gone mad. Did not the all-knowing, infinite God make this planet big enough? Did God know what He was doing when He told man to be "fruitful and multiply"(Gen. 1:28) or when He gave Moses the sixth and ninth commandments? And the fifth commandment? Would God have given us laws that are impossible to follow? Rather than using overpopulation as a scapegoat, should we not rather face up to the real cause of part of today's social distress - lack of wisdom in government, insufficient sense of social justice, selfish monopolization, blame-worthy indolence in confronting the efforts and the sacrifices necessary to ensure the raising of living standards of an impoverished group of people? Is not our modern perverted concept of motherhood and life itself a denial of the struggle for heaven and God's will for the sensual attraction of the body and the world? Is it not true that every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged by man? And yet a young mother so often today feels the strong social pressure and hears negative anti-life statements like, "You're not going to have another baby, are you?" These false anti-life rationalizations seem to be most prevalent among the pursuers of world causes. But are not these "causes " really a sham, an alibi that is merely the thinnest covering for motives of self-gratification?

True Cause of Anti-Life Mentality
A great evil, always a sign of declining civilization, is the fear of having children. Social distress (such as unemployment, low wages, scarcity of dwellings, etc.) is one of the chief contributing factors. But it is not true that it constitutes, on the whole, the real and compelling cause of this situation. The genuine reasons are the increased demands made by modern life upon people. Our attitude toward comfort, luxury, and pleasure is changed. The balance between income and expenses was essentially the same a hundred years ago, but life then was less pretentious. Luxuries and pleasures involving great outlay of money were scarcely thought of by the poorer classes in those times. It was taken as a matter of course that marriage would bring children, whose care and the family's general necessities were the first items of the budget. If something remained over, that might be spent on pleasures. But now all is changed. Our advance in technical discovery has made many things possible even to the poorer classes, and so their desires increase and are being constantly stimulated by the frequent changing of articles produced and advertised. The modern man considers first what he needs for his more or less luxurious apartment and for his personal comfort, and concludes that there is not sufficient left upon which to raise a large family. Thus it has become an axiom that one cannot have any or many children. By repetition in papers, discussions, and conversations, this idea has gained such power of suggestion that it dominates the mind of those who contemplate marriage. If we add to this the power of human respect and the fact that a whole array of birth prevention and abortive tools can be had for little money in almost every drugstore, we can readily understand the present condition. All movements for better housing, living conditions, and the like should, of course, be promoted, but they are not the ultimate solution. The same person, who now with very limited means refuses to have children, will again do so when he is more favorably situated, because his pretensions will have grown also.

Result of Anti-life Mentality
It is beyond human comprehension to be able to fully understand how calloused and cold the human heart must become to actually fear sharing one of God's greatest gifts - life itself - with another human being. Is a child that difficult of a "yolk" or heavy of a "burden "? But even beyond the hard-heartedness of birth control, when women forego their most noble dignity of motherhood and destroy that which by nature they are meant to treat with affection, they end up hating and destroying themselves.

The Holy Family - Not An Outworn Image
It has been said that the only commandment of God that mankind ever kept was to "increase and multiply, and fill the earth" (Gen. 1:28). We are no longer even fulfilling this commandment. North America is now reproducing at below zero population level, thanks to contraception and abortion. One out of four marriages in Canada breaks up; one out of two in the United States. In Sweden, one child in four is illegitimate.

If you consider what all this means in terms of insecurity and heartache, the children abandoned, the resentment and frustration of future generations, and most especially the loss of immortal souls, do you think we can claim to have found a better way?

We so desperately need to studiously turn back in respectful veneration and imitation to the perfect model of family life, the Holy Family - Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Their holy and livable example as well as the atrocious statistics of today tell us that without this element of faithfulness, this willing, loving sacrifice, nothing good will come in this world.

The Church need not fear that the model of Mary and Joseph and the Holy Family will ever become in the world tomorrow an outworn ideal or image of a past social structure. There won't be any tomorrow without Them!

Liberation From What?
Over thirty years ago (Oct., 1971) Pope Paul VI deplored that, "Offences which debase human dignity are daily increasing. They invade the modern life in many forms, especially through immodest fashions, frivolous and immoral shows, corruption of customs, pornography perfidiously diffused and moral deadening of consciences - all such things endanger seriously the civilization. Some even favor most licentious experiments as if these were liberating conquests. But from what do they liberate? From the knowledge of good and evil? From the respect due to human persons and to woman's dignity? From the appreciation of true and precious values which preserve and embellish the balance between the spirit and flesh, like modesty, innocence, self-control, conscious and generous choice of truth, love, and the noble and high objectives of life?" asked the Holy Father lamentingly.

Dignity of Modern Womanhood - Gone
The modern woman has debased her God-given dignity below the level of a cattle judging fair to determine the quality of meat or the milk production of a cow's udder. We see women slouching around in their tight pants, blue jeans, transparent and t-shirt type blouses, low necklines, high skirt lines, and no moral lines to be found. When the woman's breasts were separated and divorced from their God-given purpose of maternity and motherhood, the breast became "udder" perversion disgracing even the cow and all other mammals and irrational creatures. The female body sells everything from shoe polish to shampoo. The modern culpable male sees women as "things" for selfish indulgence, not as persons with an inherent dignity as a child of God. Has not the modern male with his Playboy type philosophy degraded himself also far below even a bull which at least acts and serves a God-given purpose? Many, many males these days do not even groom or dress like men, let alone act like men. The male also has caused much of the moral decay in our society. Besides allowing and promoting "sex-ploitation", he has turned toward the sensual women of the world rather than seeking the less abundant virtuous women of God just as the men ("of God") in Noah's time did, causing the great deluge (Gen. 6:1-7).

Sex is Beautiful!
Even men and women of good will who have struggled courageously to stay pure in our social cesspool of today have very often developed, by a natural reaction, a twisted idea about sex. Many think sex or the human body is dirty. But we must remember that an all-knowing, infinitely wise God made the male and female bodies. God is not dirty and neither are His creative works. It was God Who created sex; it was God Who chose in this fashion to give man a share in His Own creative power and Who ordained that the conjugal act should be a source of intense pleasure. Indeed, St. Thomas points out that the pleasure attached to sex was probably more intense, the whole experience richer, before the fall.

In Fact, "Very Good"!
For those puritans who think that the marriage act is somehow ugly and unworthy of God we might recall Pere Rogust's words: "Human generation, the fruit of marriage, was willed by God, Who, on the evening of the sixth day, after creating man and woman and ordering them to multiply, said not only that it was 'good', as He had said of all the previous creations, but that it was 'very good', (Gen. 1:31) that is to say very beautiful, very holy, truly worthy of Himself".

Thus, we see that sex is beautiful but sex abuse is a very hideous perversion of such an awesome gift from God. Imagine the greatness and beauty of actually being able to share in one of God's greatest powers - creation of other human beings who will live forever - even the angels in heaven do not share in this magnificent power.

The Fault of Modern Women
To a certain degree the impact of our permissive society has hit harder on the women than the men. For the woman used to be the one who said 'no', now she doesn't. The greater control of a woman on a date coupled with the greater risk she takes makes her violations more serious and her punishment more severe.

Result of Fault
The pregnant woman has been degraded to, and equated with, a trash can by the most dehumanizing judicial decision of the 1973 Supreme Court (USA). If the 'product of conception' (as they call the baby - 'it') is as freely disposable as the Supreme Court and the abortionists tell us, is the woman who first carries 'it' any better than the trash can into which 'it' is put in upon removal?

Contrast this with the Christian concept that a pregnant woman is a temple, a 'chalice of gold' carrying an unborn child of God with an immortal soul that will live forever. The saints have told us that the soul of an innocent child is brighter than the sun. No wonder Satan hates babies so much! He knows their glory - that one tiny unborn baby makes a mockery of all his 'greatest' (?) works.

Christian Women Must Unite
The Christian women must join in a united force to restore modesty. Even if an earnest Christian woman finds herself the only woman dressed modestly and Mary-like in a large supermarket or gathering, she must persevere for love of God and herself and for love of her neighbor. Due to the great power of human respect and social pressures, there is no question about the sacrifice (even heroic sacrifice) required by such a valiant woman to persevere for such a noble cause. Today without a moral code or a model and ideal of womanhood to look up to as all that is noble, good and beautiful (the Immaculate Virgin and Mother), the modern women have fallen easy prey to the indecent and immodest fashions of our day with unquestionable and blind conformity. Like blind sheep they follow the dictates of the fashion designers (whose main interest is to make money). The more they attract the lustful gaze of men by provocative clothing (or lack of clothing) the more they lose that innate (God-given) sense of modesty which preserves their virtue of chastity. Is it any wonder that neither of these virtues are appreciated today?

Eternal Reward For Perseverance
But the woman who does persevere in Mary-like modesty, choosing dresses which conceal rather than reveal the figure of the wearer, not emphasizing or revealing unduly, parts of the body, will surely be generously rewarded not only in the eternal beatitude, but even here on earth. Every woman has an innate knowledge or intuition about the effect that an improperly covered female body has on a man. Even the mental repercussions due to immodesty are so strong that the saints themselves tell us about great trials and temptations they had due to flash-backs of improperly covered female bodies from their earlier days in life. This is why a modestly dressed woman stands out so strongly in a store or any public gathering where the other women have discarded their God given natural and innocent beauty by dressing like the male species of the human race or in any other perverted attire. Such a modestly dressed woman very often bothers the consciences of the other women who have allowed their dignity and innate sense of modesty to slowly dissipate and even die. Although the cross of social pressure is wearisome and often difficult, such a Christian woman proclaims Christ and His Holy Mother Mary before men and He will surely proclaim her before His Eternal Father in heaven.

The God-Given Role of Man and Woman
In the garden of paradise before Eve was created, God said, "It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a helper like unto himself" (Gen. 2:18). "Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, He took one of his ribs, and filled up flesh for it. And the Lord God built the rib which He took from Adam into a woman, and brought her to Adam. And Adam said, This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man" (Gen. 2:21-23). It should be noted that God took one of Adam's bones not from his foot making her his slave, or not from his head making her his master, but rather from one of Adam's ribs next to his heart symbolizing that Adam was to love Eve as one close to his heart and that Eve was made equal to Adam with a different role to fulfill in God's infinitely perfect designs. The man is the head of the family, the woman is the heart of the family. As the Holy Scriptures tell us, the woman is to be kind and subject to her husband; the husband is to love and cherish his wife as his own body, just as Christ, the Head of the Mystical Body, loves His Own Body, the Church (Eph 5:24-25).

Marriage - A Vocation
It is such a great tragedy that few people look upon marriage as a vocation. Few look upon marriage as a school where they learn to love their partners. Seldom do we hear married persons describe their spouses as partners who help them fulfill the design of the Creator on their behalf (Eph 5:21-33; Matt 19:4-6; John 2:1-10). The words: "I take you forever" should mean, "I will try to make my love for you grow, because God placed us together".

The Father
The role of a true father of a family includes the God-like qualities and responsibilities as creator, lover, Christ, priest, teacher, breadwinner and saint! The acceptance of responsibility for others, especially those too weak to stand yet alone, the solicitude for their spiritual and physical good rooted in a love devoid of selfishness, this paternity is the crown of manhood, the insignia of a man's maturity.

There are more and more families without a father. In the United States there has been more and more psychological tests which have revealed the great difference between a family with a father and a family without a father. It has been discovered that if a male child has very little contact or relationship with his father, the male child tends to try very hard to succeed to attract the attention of the father. If a female child has very little relationship of true love and affection with her father, it has been found that she is much more vulnerable to easy sex since she is seeking what is lacking in her family. It has been discovered that if the mother, without her husband, goes regularly to religious services, less than five percent of the children follow her example after they leave home. But if the father goes regularly to church services, even without his wife, over forty percent of the children continue this practice. How many fatherless homes there are in America and throughout the world? The example and model of the father is very important, equally important as the mother!

The Mother
St. Gregory Nazianzen beautifully describes the role of married women in his poem to St. Olympias. Among other precepts he says, "In the first place, honor God; then respect your husband as the eye of your life, for he is to direct your conduct and actions. Love only him; make him your joy and your comfort. Take care never to give him any occasion of offense or disgust. Yield to him in his anger; comfort and assist him in his pains and afflictions, speaking to him with sweetness and tenderness, and making him prudent and modest remonstrances at seasonable times. It is not by violence and strength that the keepers of lions endeavor to tame them when they see them enraged; but they soothe and caress them, stroking them gently, and speaking with a soft voice. Never let his weaknesses be the subject of your reproaches. It can never be just or allowable for you to treat a person in this manner, whom you ought to prefer to the whole world". He prays that this holy woman might become the mother of many children, that there might be the more souls to sing the praises of Jesus Christ.

Woman's Great Role and Responsibility In Creation
So we can see the great dignity of man and woman most especially in their great role of sharing in God's creative powers. To a certain sense, the woman shares more than the man in God's creative powers for it is she who is the temple, the "chalice of gold" for nine months; it is she who nurses the new life at her breast with her very nourishing milk; it is she who cares for, comforts, and teaches her young child in his very formative years. For the mother of a child very profoundly passes on her virtues and vices to the wide open mind and soul of her child. Even Joseph Stalin said that if you give me a child from birth to five years, I will have captured the mind of the child. Is it any wonder that the Communistic states take the child from the mother right after birth?

Child Day-Care Centers?
What virtues or vices and foundations in life do children of working mothers soak up into their tender and innocent minds and hearts? Who is usually better able and equipped by God to give that much needed love and affection and warmth and security to a young child? A stranger? A baby sitter? A city or state or federally organized child drop-off center? Or the child's own flesh and blood, his mother? What is the effect on the eternal destiny of a child and on our society itself of having the numerous child day-care centers springing up all over our country and over the world? What is the reason and motive for these centers? What on earth could be more important and fulfilling than to intimately share with God Himself in the creation and development of a young human being with an immortal soul? Is not a soul of greater value than all the buildings or companies or worldly careers or wealth or the entire universe put together?

Sex Education
In the same line of thought; in God's Own infinite designs in nature, who is the proper person(s) to properly and prudently teach a child, as he grows up, about the awesome responsibility of controlling the strong human sex drive according to God's perfect plan? The schools? The child day-care centers? Or the child's own parents endowed by God naturally and supernaturally by His graces (if they accept and correspond with His graces) to fulfill their God-given role as the first and primary teachers of their child? Have we not already witnessed in so many countries in the world the devastating effects (among other causes) of sex education in the schools - increased and abnormal sexual curiosity and experimentation, child pornography, sexual assaults, enormous increase in teenage promiscuity and unwed pregnancies, epidemic venereal disease, unprecedented murder of life within the warm (secure?) mother's womb, loss of eternity?

The Great Influence Of A Wife and Mother
Besides the great power of a mother's influence over her new child, she also wields great power over men and all of society. She can inspire great acts of self-denial and heroism as well as lead men to ignominious actions and horrible crimes. For a man's heart is drawn to what he loves: if he loves God and His virtuous image in a holy woman, he is drawn upward toward God and virtue; if he loves the pleasures of the world, selfishness, vice and the allurements of the devil in a woman, he is drawn down to them. God gifted the woman with extraordinary powers of intuition and refined sensitiveness. Also the woman's enthusiasm rouses more quickly and is more susceptible to be ruled by love or hatred, and so she is more liable than the man to do extraordinary acts of heroism or of crimes. The strong woman who is praised eloquently in the Holy Scripture (Prov. 31:10-31), is a real blessing to many homes, for she is a powerful person in the family and the social balance. On the other hand the woman who is futile, trivial, frivolous and lives only for luxuries and pleasures, lowers the morals and the dignity of those with whom she lives, and therefore contributes to their downfall. "As the women go, so goes the nation!"

Thank God For Unselfish "Moms" Worldwide
We must thank God for so many good and virtuous "mothers" in every walk of life. Besides our own moms, we are so fortunate to have many other generous moms throughout the world helping in so many indispensable ways. We have "moms" of compassion and caring in the hospitals, patient and disciplined "moms" of the classroom in our schools today; "moms" of mercy in the far-away mission fields, and so many other “moms" - big sisters, maiden aunts, stepmothers, dedicated single women and widows. We are blessed and should be grateful for so many "moms" giving their attentions unselfishly where needed and seeking no acclaim for their mothering.

Satan's Hate and Envy of Motherhood
The greatest detractor and base under miner of purity and motherhood itself is the devil. Ever since the devil heard that ancient curse from God that the seed of a woman "shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait for his (of the woman) heel" (Gen 3:15), the devil has done all in his power to degrade womanhood. Before Christ, women were the slaves and servants of men and even considered as mere possessions right along with the cattle and sheep and other possessions. But when the eternal God chose a pure virgin woman, conceived without sin, to be His Immaculate Mother, womanhood and motherhood took on a new meaning as well as the reverence for the integrity of a woman's body and soul. "For the first time woman was elevated to her rightful position, and the sanctity of weakness was recognized, as well as the sanctity of sorrow. No longer the slave or toy of man, no longer associated only with ideas of degradation and of sensuality; woman rose, in the person of the Virgin Mother, into a new sphere, and became the object of a reverential homage of which antiquity had no conception" (Historian, William H. Lechy).

Reject Our Loving Heavenly Mother? Why?
But the devil began to work even harder after the Incarnation, to pull the woman down from her rightful pedestal of innocence and queenly modesty. The devil's plan of attack was greatly fostered by the de-Christianization of society and the returning to pagan culture of the Renaissance, and by the Protestant reformation, which to a great extent, struck out devotion to the Blessed Virgin, in order to give, as they said, "greater devotion to Christ". But what was true then is still true now. If we reject the Mother of God, then Christianity becomes cold, intellectual and foreboding, and frequently ends up in rejecting the eternal Son. As the saints have so often told us that he who does not love and honor Mary as his Mother cannot have God for his Father. Just as her Divine Maternity is a counterpart of God's eternal Fatherhood, so her spiritual Maternity is a counterpart of that divine adoption whereby we have God for our Father.

Mary - God's Gift To the World!
The two greatest gifts that Christ gave us from the cross were His Sacred Body and His Holy Mother; His Body and Blood in the incredible gift of the Holy Eucharist and, in His last will and testament, He gave us His Immaculate and Sorrowful Mother. This astounding gift, His Own Mother, is far beyond our small minds. Saint Maximilian Kolbe wrote: " We call her Mother, but an earthly mother is not free from weakness … this mother is the mother without stain, immaculate… She is only a creature, but in God she is such a sublime being, that one would have to grasp Who God is, in order to understand who the Mother of God is".

Obtain Heaven By Mercy; Obtain Mercy By Mary!
Our Blessed Mother is the bridge which God built between the infinite justice of Jesus and the equally infinite weakness of man. Without God's unfathomable mercy, no sinner could ever acquire heaven in the presence of an all-perfect God. As St. Thomas Aquinas remarked: "The Mother of Jesus has obtained half the kingdom of God; so that she is Queen of Mercy, while her Son is King of Justice ". And the Church of God proclaims that mercy daily: "Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy".

God's Soft Spot - weakness?
Mary's intercessory power with her Divine Son is unlimited. He chooses to be subject to her today as He was as a little Child in Nazareth. A mother's grief over her child has incredible power with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He Who could not resist the tears of the widow of Naim (Luke 7:11­17) will not refuse His Sorrowful Mother, weeping over the multitude of her dead (in sin) and dying children.

Without a Mother ….?
Jesus said: "Unless you become as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 18:3). And how, without a mother, can we become little children? Certainly the mother is the one thing a child cannot do without. A mother's love is the nearest approach to the infinite tenderness of God. The appeal of any mother is irresistible to the most hardened heart. But human comparisons fall immeasurably short of Our Lady's maternal love. The appeal of the Immaculate Mother is comparable only to the infinitude of God.

Our Hope - Mary!
Nothing is hopeless as long as the soul will look upon the heavenly face of her who is our Life, our Sweetness, and our Hope, "BEHOLD THY MOTHER!"