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Oh my gosh, I'm hyperventilating. No offense to the parents out there, but that's the most potent contraceptive I've ever read!

Albertus Magnus

Beth, that is an awesome letter, oozing with Godly wisdom and useful even to one with no prospect of future motherhood. God proved his love for us by taking steps to bless us even before we were born. How beautiful it is to make plans to love others in a like manner.


lucy pevensie

Wow. That's profound and true and inspiring and overwhelming all at the same time. May God give us the grace we need in the midst of parenting to be the women (and men) He wants us to be.
Thanks so much for your wonderful words.


I can see I'm out-numbered on this one! I can appreciate the encouragement to prepare for life ahead while you have the time and before circumstances take over. But, my concern is that these ideas represent an impossibly high standard for wives and mothers to live up to. Many mothers I've spoken to feel like they're under-achieving to start with (only a perception, as far as I can tell). Doesn't this put them under more stress? Are these things you describe, Beth, a requirement of motherhood, an ideal or something in between?


Philomena: Here are some thoughts.

An athlete has heroes and goals. 'I want to be a Michael Jordan. I need to have a 'x' vertical jump, to be able to sink % of three point shots, etc.' If someone wants to be the best, does that stress him out?

Our question is, ‘How am I to become holy?’ Just as an athlete needs a coach to guide and heroes to follow, so does a wife and mother. Being a mother and wife is a profession. It's time we brought back the dignity and rigor to the vocation. So the job requires training, hard work, constant improvement.

But more than a job, since I am a mother and wife, it is my way of salvation, my narrow way. If one focuses on having a Pottery Barn house with a Martha bday party and needs more money and less sleep to accomplish such things, then one is misdirected. I am reconsidering women and think we struggle to grow out of the seventh grade catiness and insecurity. Don't learn to cook in order impress other women. Don't dress nicely in order to fit in with those women you hope will invite you to join the Woman's Club. Do so in order to be a blessing to those around you, first to your family and then to your neighbor (who may be a member of the Woman’s Club which may well be worth belonging to). Ones worth is not in how much one does, but in being a child of God. The fruits of repentance are loving God and ones neighbor. I think cultivating the home arts is part of the vocation of married life.

So I would say, it is the interior life which needs to be cultivated first and foremost. If one is naturally talented in putting together fancy parties, Glory to Jesus Christ. Bless your children with such fun and invite me. But if after morning prayers you feel you can manage 2 hours with 4 girls for your 4 year old's bday party, playing a few games and having cupcakes, do so cheerfully and without apology. It is more important to maintain ones peace of soul than to yell at every family member and paste on a smile for the arriving guests.

A layman once asked a monk, 'What do you do in a monastery?' The monk answered, 'Fall and get up again, fall and get up again, fall and get up again.' Christ calls us to 'Be holy.'Our entire life is a pilgrimage, striving to become like Christ. As a wife and mother, that pilgrimage entails forming a bright and cheerful home and helping the children learn their roles as part of the family, the church, and the world.

Do I fall? Several times a day. I am simply a pilgrim.

In today's sermon, our priest spoke about Peter walking out to Christ on the water in faith, but then taking his eyes off of Christ and looking 'at the wind' and sinking. He had his goal. The Lord had His own goal - Golgotha and the Redemption of All Creation. Our goal is eternal life with our Lord. If one trusts in ones self, then the stress of trying to 'do' more all the time may be unbearable. But if we are carrying our cross, for the joy set before us, then though we fall, we will get up again.

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Author Photos

  • Nicodemus
  • Thomas Aquinas
  • Theresa Olive
  • Andrew
  • Beth
  • Didymus
  • Albertus Magnus
  • Lucy
  • Philomena
  • Justin Martyr
  • Vincent of Saragossa
  • Thomas More
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