From Plain Talks on Marriage by Rev. Fulgence Meyer, 1927

Nature’s Great Mystery

The labor of childbirth for the mother remains one of the deepest mysteries of nature. Why something that is so necessary for the preservation of the human race should be coupled with so much difficulty, pain and danger baffles our understanding.

The fall in paradise and the consequent curse inflicted by the Lord upon woman hardly accounts for what we call the natural mystery; for human nature, whilst it dropped from its preternatural and supernatural elevation through the fall, is not worse or otherwise than it would have been, had it never been elevated.

Why then is childbirth naturally so arduous and perilous?

The Excellence of Motherhood

The best explanation seems to be given by the high dignity and sublime prerogative of motherhood. Nature demands a corresponding payment for whatever distinctions and privileges she bestows.

She confers no higher excellence and gives no loftier station than that of motherhood: hence the big price she demands in return in the way of maternal suffering, anxiety and dread.

Her reward for their endurance, however, is also in proportion to their size and intensity.

Our Lord expresses it thus: “A woman, when she is in labor, hath sorrow, because her hour is come; but when she hath brought forth the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world” (John, 16, 21).

By common consent mankind gives more consideration, appreciation and gratitude to the mother than to the father. We have a fine historical illustration of this in the rapturous exclamation of the woman in regard to our Savior: “Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the breasts that nursed Thee” (Luke, 11, 27).

She centered all her admiration and gave all the credit to the mother. Jesus had no father according to the flesh, of course; yet the woman was not aware of this when she declared her sentiments.

The mother naturally seems also to get greater joy out of parenthood than does the father. She feels a sweeter transport and a higher pride in being able to point to her children and say with the ancient Roman matron: “Behold my jewels.”

In view of all this a sensible woman willingly resigns herself to the ordeal of motherhood when she feels called to it by God.

What Mankind Owes to Motherhood

It was in and through motherhood that one of our kin was elevated to the highest dignity, and endowed with the sublimest sanctity any actual or possible created being is capable of :— at the incarnation of the Son of God.

Through becoming His Mother, Mary at once and forever rose above all the angels and archangels of heaven. Through her divine motherhood she more than repaired the loss inflicted upon mankind by the first woman.

For the paradise Eve deprived us of Mary gave us heaven: a prettier, a more blessed and a more glorious heaven than we should have had, had Eve never seduced Adam to sin.

So much we owe to motherhood. What a grand privilege, then, accrues to every woman who becomes and is a mother after God’s own heart!

Your job is to help them reach this state of full and complete independence in a gradual fashion. And your success as a mother will depend to a great extent upon the amount of emancipation you permit them as they step progressively toward adulthood. Therefore you should try to judge realistically when your children truly need your help and when they do not. -Fr. George Kelly, 1950’s https://amzn.to/2NXlMld

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With his facile pen and from the wealth of his nation-wide experience, the well-known author treats anything and everything that might be included under the heading of home education: the pre-marriage training of prospective parents, the problems of the pre-school days down through the years of adolescence. No topic is neglected. “What is most praiseworthy is Fr. Lord’s insistence throughout that no educational agency can supplant the work that must be done by parents.” – Felix M. Kirsch, O.F.M. https://amzn.to/2T06u28 (afflink)

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