The child … makes the wife a mother. Man more commonly cooperates with nature, but a woman cooperates with God; she is the bearer of the gift of God to man. The word of woman is “Fiat”, submission, surrender, cooperation with life. A woman’s unhappiest moment is when she is unable to give; there is hell within when she refuses to give. Bearer of the cosmic plentitude, she fulfills her mission when she brings a child into the world. Looking down at that babe, a new paradox is revealed: it is the only time self can be loved without selfishness. A mother now loves a non-self in herself as her body becomes the ciborium of the new life, and her arms become its bearer as she passes on culture to ages yet unborn.
I’m currently reading the book Life is Worth Living, by Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. It includes the transcripts from 44 episodes of his television show of the same name. This particular quote was taken from an episode entitled “Children: Burdens or Joys”. I thought it quite appropriate to share this quote with you at this time, Mother’s Day being Sunday.
I think that this quote not only speaks to women who have given birth, but also to women who, for whatever reason, cannot: “a woman’s unhappiest moment is when she is unable to give.” I wonder about some women’s consciences, if there is truth to the statement “there is hell within when she refuses to give.”
Some reading this will be put off by the phrase “she fulfills her mission when she brings a child into this world.” But, in context, there’s no disputing the fact that God made Woman to bear children. This is what Bishop Sheen is alluding to.
I can empathize with the “unhappiest moment”. I can ponder the “hell within”. I was struck with awe, however, by the statement: “A mother now loves a non-self in herself as her body becomes the ciborium of the new life, and her arms become its bearer as she passes on culture to ages yet unborn”.
Slowly re-read that sentence. “…her body becomes the ciborium of the new life….” Just think what our society, what our human race, could become if each and every person took this phrase to heart and treated the gifts from God with the respect and care that they deserve.
Full citation for the quote above: Sheen, Fulton J., Life is Worth Living: First and Second Series, Ignatius Press, original copyright 1953 and 1954, p. 173.