Saturday, March 31, 2012

Applying the Cardinal Virtues to Motherhood...

A Thesis by Jacquelyn Barten, Guest Blogger

Applying the Cardinal Virtues to Motherhood, Part I

Humans are created in the image and likeness of God and are called to love as God loves.  Of all the relationships that human beings participate in, the most profound impact they can make with their love in this world starts right in their own homes.  At the 1994 Prayer Breakfast at the White House, Mother Teresa said: “Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put into what we do.”  How do mothers grow in the virtues, especially when they feel like a little bird drowning in a monsoon, struggling through the daily continuous and seemingly unexpected crosses of motherhood?  For one, they need to heed the spirituality of St. Therese of Lisieux, pick up their heads and spread their wings after a shower so that God can dry them with His brilliant rays.  St. Gregory of Nyssa stated that “the goal of a virtuous life is to become like God,” to love like God.[1]  If mothers are worthy and willing to receive the theological virtues, these virtues are given to them as a gift from God, while the cardinal virtues are mainly acquired by human efforts which strive to follow the example of Christ.[2]  Now, more than ever, embracing the cardinal virtues is imperative for successful mothering and the sanctification of the domestic church.  Whereas, contemporary society is externally focused and places much emphasis on actions and relationships outside the home, an analysis of the cardinal virtues in terms of mothering shows that more focus needs to be put on relationships and actions inside the home. "

[1] Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, (Vatican: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997), 1803.
[2] Ibid, 1804.

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