A Vincentian View: “Becoming a Mother”

by | Jan 3, 2024 | Formation, Reflections | 1 comment

Advent and Christmas during this past year had a special character for me. It was especially due to my nieces and their spouses.

One niece gave birth to my grandniece six months ago. Another gave birth to a grandniece seven weeks ago. One of my pregnant nieces will deliver her child in February; another in May. I do not exaggerate when I say that I have felt surrounded by new life at its various wondrous stages. As I reflect upon Mary carrying Jesus within her womb in the Advent Season and then giving birth at Christmas, I have never felt closer to her experience— I have seen and heard and held that which gave meaning to her existence. And, that which would give meaning to the whole of her life.

Watching each niece with her child has been an education. Three of them, I have known since their birth; the fourth came into my life when she married my nephew. They are all joyful and talented young women. But, now, they are something more: they are mothers. All of a sudden, the planning and values in the lives of those who have already given birth has been rethought. Much the same can be said of their partners for life. One can understand why it would take an artist or a poet to describe the simplest of scenes that capture whom they have become through a glance or a touch. For my nieces who still carry the child within, there is an unspoken awareness of the special character of their being. They have a double-helping of life and carry two souls. They will never be the same again. No matter how much they share with the “experts,” their story unfolds and remains unique.

I would not presume to speak of the experience of Mary. Yet, I cannot separate her story completely from that of these other young women and their offspring whom I love. The current experience for me provides a place to stand in the stable. It gives me a connection to the vision of a mother holding her child and marveling at his/her expressed miracle. Mary’s willingness to be “the handmaid of the Lord” in the conceiving and caring for this child finds expression in the willingness of other mothers on behalf of their children.

Yes, this Christmastime has had a special character for me. I can only hope that it will make me more concerned about so many other infants who find their place among the poor. They, too, would know a mother’s love, but would also depend more needfully on the kindness of others. It summons a Vincentian call that witnesses to and captures the meaning of the season.

1 Comment

  1. Natalie Boone

    Lovely reflection Father Pat.