Sense of Life. Articles in English. On Parenthood.
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Articles for translators and linguists - On Parenthood
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On Parenthood

We all know that Christ offered up His life for us and for our sins. But we forget that it is only through Our Blessed Mother’s “yes” and her openness to life that Jesus Christ — “true God and true Man” — was able to become “true Man” in order to save us.

How strange it is that in giving honor to Mary we forget the very thing that makes her worthy of our great veneration: her faith in God and willingness to bear life. When the angel Gabriel announced to her that she would conceive and give birth to Jesus, her only response was that of surprise: “But how can this be, since I have no husband?” (Luke 1:34). Now how do many women today react to the news of an unplanned pregnancy? “God! What a slip-up! Now what do I do? What about my plans? My job? Our house? What will others say?”

Of course, we can give several reasons — some positive, some negative — for such a state of affairs. Today everyone agrees that women in those days were discriminated against and that there was nothing for them to do but to bear children and wash diapers. Now women can study, work in a profession, hold high positions, and take an active part in social and political life. Consequently, women can develop themselves personally and achieve professional success. But all this comes at the cost of losing something that is much more important; and that something is maternal love. 

The fact is that in God’s plan it is precisely love that is intended to be the motor of the human person’s growth to perfect happiness. In the Creation story we observe a radical difference between the way in which God created the human race and the way He called other creatures to life. In creating humankind, He created one man and one woman, whom he enjoined to multiply and fill the earth with more human beings (Gen 1: 27-28). Why? Could God not have created many human beings at once, as He did in the case of animals and plants? Certainly He could have. But He chose to do this in cooperation with human beings — through love and parenthood.

Parenthood is a special kind of love that consists in the “unselfish gift of the self.” It consists in a mutual bestowal of gifts. I give all of myself to my spouse as an expression of my love for him or her and thereby create the conditions in which God may call a new human being into existence. Surely no one would deny that life is the most precious gift we can ever receive from anyone. If, then, we refuse this gift to our own children, all is not well with us, for we commit a serious sin when we oppose God’s plan and close ourselves off from parenthood. After all, God blessed us with the words: “Be fruitful and multiply!” and He expects us to carry out this happy injunction with joy.

And yet there are those who deliberately render themselves sterile (for a tidy sum in some countries!) They would believe that having one child is an unbearable burden, and two — sheer madness. Only irresponsible “baby-makers” (so they say) allow themselves still more children. But the fact is that these people simply have no love in them, and so they have nothing to share with children. They see children as intruders, as a burden and an obstacle to realizing their life’s goals.

But what good are our goals if we lack love, which finds its source only in God? What good are our achievements if we cannot share them in love with a little child? Of what use is our participation in society, if we cannot accept into our homes and bring into the world a new human being — our own (God’s!) child. None of this is of any worth at all.

I agree that a child has to be fed, clothed, and assured of a roof over its head and a good start in life. I also understand when people tell me that they cannot afford to give certain things to a child and that is why they refuse to have a baby. And they are quite right: having no love within them, they really have nothing to give the child. They forget that “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). They deny themselves the joy of being someone special to their children. They will not know the happiness of a mother who watches her child take its first step, hears it utter its first word, sees those loving eyes filled with gratitude and the joy of being alive. They will not experience that deep mutual bond when a child is unable to take a step without its mother, and turns to her with its every tiny problem and joy. They will not experience the happiness and pride that flow from seeing their child’s every achievement, its awkward, love-filled drawings, its simple greeting card prepared only for mommy and dear daddy. They will not be able to enjoy the sight of their children playing together, witness their little quarrels, or hear their complaints and disputes over who hurt whom. They will never feel the proud joy experienced by a mother and father who have helped their offspring solve some problem or other — amusing and silly to them, but huge and overwhelming to their child.

People of this mindset will not allow themselves to be surprised by God. They want to have everything planned and neatly laid out. God wishes to bestow upon them the greatest gift of all, that is, a child, and all He gets is an earful of all the things they must have before they decide to accept it.

Our Blessed Mother Mary did not stop to think about many things, as do so many women today, preoccupied as they are about their studies, work, house, car, retirement, and so on. She simply gave her assent to God’s proposal and became a wife and mother. So let us pray that all married couples may — like Mary — be ready to accept and lavish their love upon every child; that all conceived children may be lovingly welcomed regardless of the parents’ wedding date or the public disapproval they may face. Those who trust in God in such situations will never be disappointed.

Are married couples who refuse to accept the gift of parenthood in a more difficult situation than was Our Blessed Mother? Do such people really lack the love and great-heartedness to accept one or more children into their lives? Are they so closed to the prospect of true happiness?

Only couples who are united with God can discover their true vocation and realize it. God, who is the source of love, unity, and peace desires to bestow upon us all the necessary graces and invites us today into a closer relationship with Himself through daily prayer, Confession, and Holy Communion. So entrust to Him all the difficult situations you experience in your marriage and family. You can do this by joining the Movement of Pure Hearts for Married Couples. All you have to do is go to confession and, after receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, say together the following Prayer of Consecration:

Lord, we consecrate our marriage to You — our minds, our memories, our bodies, and souls. Teach us to love each other and our children with that love which flows from Your Merciful Heart. Lord Jesus Christ, grant both of us a pure heart modeled upon Your own Sacred Heart, that together we may perfect a love that is wise, generous, faithful, and free of self-interest — a love that steadfastly upholds Your laws and commandments. May daily family prayer in the form of the rosary, the chaplet of divine mercy, Holy Mass, and frequent reception of Holy Communion be our help in this endeavor. May we immediately confess every serious sin through the Sacrament of Penance. Grant that we may continually draw on the graces that are ours for the asking in the Sacrament of Marriage.

Lord Jesus, be master of our hearts. Teach us to control our sexual desires and feelings, that our love for each other and our children may not be subject to our moods and emotional states. May our love be rather a continual expression our care and solicitude for each other. Grant us the gift of pure conjugal love, that we may give ourselves generously to each other. Cleanse our love of all selfishness, that we may always forgive and pray for each other without nursing grudges. To remain pure in heart, we vow never to read, buy, or look at pornographic materials. We vow never to use contraceptives and always to be ready to accept every child that God may send us. Lord, help us to avoid everything that ensnares, enslaves, or incites to evil.

Mary, our Mother, guide us in the way of faith toward the Source of Love — your Son, Jesus Christ. Like God’s Servant, John Paul II, we desire to entrust ourselves entirely to you. Totus Tuus, Mary! We confide ourselves to your Immaculate Heart — all that we are, every step we take, and every moment of our lives. Amen.

Dear Readers! Please inform us of your decision to join the Movement of Pure Hearts for Married Couples. Send us your address and dates of birth, and tell us when you decided to MPHMC, so that we may enroll you in our Book of Pure Hearts, pray for you often, and send you our special blessing.

In all your daily hardships, may Mary, Queen of Families, secure for you all the necessary graces and blessings from God.

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The article was published with the permission from "Love One Another!"

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