The day we were married, I knew that God had hand-picked my husband for me. He was, and still is my best friend. We have laughed, worked, and grown together every day of our marriage. He is a wonderful, virtuous, and Godly man. When we were first married, however, the only person I was truly serving, was myself. Early in our marriage, we were both working outside of the home and I did my best to ensure the housework was split, 50/50. I never did a good job of hiding my frustration when the percentages didn’t work to my favor. Thankfully, I have learned, over time, that being a wife and mother is a loving, selfless, charitable vocation that brings greater rewards than I had ever imagined. It is a vocation, that God called me to, and it is through this vocation that God will sanctify me and prepare me to meet Him someday. The more I gave of myself to my husband and family, the more joy I found. When I truly began to treat my husband with biblical respect and love, he responded to me with overwhelming love and generosity. We have found harmony and peace in our marriage, borne from self-giving and a spirit of sacrifice.
My confessor put it perfectly when he explained to me that marriage is such an important Sacrament, truly ordained by God. “We are conduits of grace for one another.” As God ordained it, my husband is the head of our household, and I am the heart. We bring such different, but complimentary gifts to our home.
Proverbs 31: 10 – 31 helped me to understand how to be the wife and mother that God calls me to be.
Throughout my day, I try remember to take a step outside of myself… to see what God sees as I go from duty to duty. He is the only judge that I need to consider. I used to worry about what people (visitors, friends, in-laws) thought of my “on the job” performance; keeping the house clean and orderly, ensuring chores were done and schedule followed, etc. Now, I still do those things, but for completely different reasons. I try to simply serve God in each task and person in my family; therefore keeping my eyes fixed on Heaven… that way, I please God and my family!
As I mentioned earlier, our vocation is ordained by God, nevertheless, our duties are not always easy (and sometimes no vacation). God has entrusted our family to our care and we are called, then, to be obedient to this call. Our duty can be found in the repetitive nature of our day, such as wiping noses, changing dirty diapers, meal prep / cleanup, and the occasional 2:00 am laundry, made possibly by the flu virus, etc. We all know it would be more fun to read a great book or check email, than iron or clean the ceiling fan blades. However, these acts of obedience, glorify God and please Him greatly. As Jesus told St. Faustina “My daughter, know that “You give Me greater glory by a single act of obedience than by long prayers and mortifications.” Well, heaven knows we don’t have the time for long prayers, but God has built into our day much opportunity for mortification and sacrifice! I guess, then, we should remember to be grateful for all these opportunities for obedience! 🙂
I have learned so much from the wisdom-packed Volume Six, Direction for Our Times. It provides a beautiful summation and consolation of the vocation to which God has called us as wives and mothers.
“June 9, 2004
Mary (an unknown saint) Speaks to Mothers
Dear mothers, you must serve tirelessly. Those who have not experienced motherhood cannot understand how hard it can be to work, performing the same tasks over and over. When you perform these tasks in love, great graces can be obtained for both your family and for the Kingdom. In this way you are directly contributing to the advancement of the cause of Heaven. Jesus is so pleased with this kind of cooperative service and He will reward you in countless ways. Cleaning your floors then becomes a divine service, as does washing your dishes, or cleaning the children’s clothes, or any of the hundreds of domestic chores you perform daily. I am in Heaven now and I have the benefit of such wisdom and knowledge. You would be overjoyed to see my reward, yet I was a simple housewife. I looked on my role of mother as a serious task.”
Here is a great explanation of our vocation… made possible by my confessor, as told to his nephews… “…So if God calls you to be a husband and father, you better be ready to die. Are you ready to die? You will die to yourself daily, only to let Jesus live in you, by serving Him in your family.”
I have a more detailed presentation on “The Vocation of Wife and Mother” on my blog. I presented this to our Mother’s Group in 2012.