From True Womanhood by Helen Allingham

It has been the constant belief and teaching of Christian ages that the lives of Joseph and Mary consumed in the voluntary poverty, lowliness, and toil of their condition, were ennobled, elevated, sanctified, and made most precious before God by being after the example of the Divine Model before them devoted to God alone, and animated by the one sole thought and purpose of pleasing and glorifying Him by perfect conformity to His holy will.

The Mother who ruled in this most blessed home, beheld in the Divine Babe confided to her, the Incarnate Son of God walking before her in the true way of holiness, and, like him, she applied herself to set the Eternal Father constantly before her eyes, studying to make every thought and aim and word and action most pleasing to that Infinite Perfection.

When Christ had begun his public life, when the home at Nazareth was broken up, and Mary had taken up her abode with her kinsfolk at Capharnaum, the light of the Father’s countenance, in which she had learned to live, accompanied her, and the grace of her Son’s example continued to surround her like a living atmosphere.

After the terrible scenes of Calvary and the glories of the ascension, she brought with her to the home which St. John and his mother, Mary Salome, so lovingly offered her, the image of her Crucified Love, as the one great mirror in which she could behold the new heights of sanctity and self-sacrifice which she was called on to tread with him.

Since her day who was Mother of our Head, Mother of the Church which she labored to beget and to form, and Mother of us all since she quitted her home on earth for heaven the image of the Crucified God has ever been the chief ornament, the principal light, and the great Book of Life in every true Christian home.

Not one saintly mother among the millions who have trained sons and daughters, ay, and husbands and dependents, to be the true followers of Christ, his apostles and his martyrs, when need was but always his faithful servants and imitators; who did not read in the ever open page of her crucifix, how she might best lead a life of self-sacrifice, and best induce her dear ones to be ” crucified to the world.”

But let no one fancy that, in placing before her this holy model-home of the ever-blessed Mother of God, it is the intention of the writer to urge any one who chances to read these pages to expect to equal in self-sacrifice either herself or her Divine Son.

No: the aim of the instruction here given is to encourage all who look into this mirror to adorn their homes with some of the heavenly flowers which bloomed in Nazareth, to bring to the performance of their daily duties in their own appointed sphere, that lofty spirit of unselfish devotion to God which will make every thing they do most precious in his sight, transform the poorest, narrowest, most cheerless home into a bright temple filled with the light of God’s presence, blessed and protected by God’s visiting angels, and fragrant with the odor of paradise.

It is merely sought to open to the darkened eyes visions of a world which will enable the burdened soul to bear patiently and joyously the load of present ills; to fire the spirit of the careworn and the despairing with an energy which will enable them to take up the inevitable cross and follow Mary and her Son up to heights where rest is certain and the promised glory unfading.

No, you shall not be asked to quit your home, or exchange your occupations, or add one single particle to the burden of your toil, your care, or your suffering; but she who is the dear Mother of us all will teach you by the silent voice of her example, how to bring the light of heaven down into your home, the generosity of the children of God into the discharge of your every occupation, and the sweet spirit of Christ to ennoble your toil, to brighten your care and your suffering.

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