Christ in the Home, Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J.IMG_0853DSC_1107

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF A MOTHER

FRANCOIS MAURIAC gives us a keen analysis of a phase of 
maternal psychology:

"So did our mother appear to me: a creature above all creatures . . . 
It is strange to think that the most mediocre women and even the 
most wicked have been in the eyes of their little boy this almost 
divine being.

". . . The child must grow, withdraw from his mother; it requires 
separation for him to judge this creature of whom he was born. It 
is necessary for her to let this man, her son, try his luck, take 
risks, love a woman and take her to himself. All that seems simple 
and in keeping with the wish of nature. Yet, it is just that which 
gives rise to a drama more often than one would think.

". . . The hen drives away the grown chick who persists in following 
her but many women do not have that instinct. In their son they 
never see the child die; and this graying man that they wait on, 
that they scold, is still a little boy to them."

Further on he says:

"As we advance in life, we perceive that man in his declining years 
has as much need of his mother as when he was a child. In truth, 
the child in us never dies; as soon as sickness attacks us and 
disarms us, the child is there again, that demanding child, who 
needs spoiling, confidence, who wants to be consoled and cradled. 
And that is why very often, the wife from instinct becomes a 
mother again at the bedside of this sick man; she assumes for the 
man whom weakness has reduced to a child the role of the mother 
who is no longer there.

"Such is perhaps the greatest marvel of the feminine heart--the 
intermingling of maternal and conjugal love within it, so fused 
into one that there remains only this tenderness of the wife 
bending over her wounded and suffering companion; this 
tenderness of which poor Verlaine dreamed when he wrote these 
two lines:

    "How I am going to love you, beautiful little hands
    Clasped for a moment, you who will close our eyes."

Coleridge has said it well:

    A mother is a mother still the holiest thing alive.

Unhappily, what has contemporary society not done to "kill the 
mother."

In how many places, children are said to belong to the State; they 
do not even have to take the name of their parents; mothers are 
merely the material producers of the living persons which the 
country, the factories, and the army need. Their generative organs 
are considered. Their heart, not at all!

In other places maternity is so ridiculed that to have a family, 
particularly a large family, instead of being a glory, is an evidence 
of simple mindedness, old-fashioned ideas, and stupidity.

Again, selfishness has been developed to such a point that while 
sterility may not be directly advocated, an immoderate limitation 
of births has been effected. To be tied down with children! No, 
thank you!

Before the war, Mauriac justly commented:

"Everything takes place in the world as if there existed a leader of 
gambling, a leader of the ball who feels that to fulfill his designs 
he must first of all strike at the mother."

And these last lines have become more timely than ever:

"In the world that it will be necessary to reconstruct, effort will 
have to bear upon this aim: to restore woman to her true place, to 
give her back her essential mission."e3f683cc3aec2d8c75b9131817a540c7

 

COURAGEOUS MOTHERS
EVERY woman, by the fact that she becomes a mother, is 
courageous, at least in regard to all that concerns her children.

She does not consider the trouble it is for her to watch at their 
bedside, to take care of them, to feed them, to help them; and if 
danger ever threatens them she will brave any peril to save them. 
Our Lord's example of the mother hen gathering her chicks under 
her wing is touching and at the same time far below the realities of 
maternal psychology.

Sometimes this courage grows to unbelievable force. It is enough 
to recall many instances of this during the war. Times of peace are 
not without their examples. Here is one that is profoundly 
beautiful:

At a certain high school located by the seashore, several students 
who had gone out for an afternoon of swimming were drowned 
despite the vigilance of the instructors. With which family should 
the faculty begin to break the bad news? One mother whose son 
had been killed in the war of 1914-1918, lost two boys in this 
tragedy. She had a profound faith, a valor without equal. The 
Father Superior knew her. He would begin with her.

She was admirable. Standing before the two beds, she uttered no 
complaint, no reproach. The priest wanted to thank her for her 
delicacy in the face of such grief.

But how was he to inform the other mothers?

I will go," she said immediately. "They will not be able to say 
anything to me, for I have lost two."

When misfortune strikes someone belonging to me, do I manifest 
the same serenity, the same supernatural spirit?

In the course of a pilgrimage from the North of France to Lourdes, 
a poor child had to be taken off the train at Poitiers. His mother 
and he were going to petition Our Lady for the cure of his malady 
which was in its last stages. Mary doubtless thought it better not to 
let this poor child on earth any longer. Shortly after the train left 
Tours, he died. 

At the Poitiers station the waiting room was quickly 
arranged to receive him. The mother remained near the body of 
her little one while the necessary preparations were made. She was 
not weeping, she held the child on her knees, she was praying. 
"You would think it was Our Lady of Seven Dolors," whispered a 
sympathetic onlooker. It was true. She was not upset by the going 
and coming; she was absorbed in her suffering or rather she was 
dominating it; there was no outburst, no sobbing; she was praying. 
It was as if a halo of holiness surrounded her.

In sorrow it is not necessary to parade an impassibility which does 
not belong to earth. Our Lord wept over Lazarus. But it is essential 
to rise above the pain, to supernaturalize it; not to let it crush us; 
to understand through our tears that God is always good, and that 
if He makes us suffer, it is not to break us but to lift us up, to let 
us share His Calvary, to give us the means of sharing more richly 
in the Redemption.

O my God, I offer You my poor heart ravaged, bruised and aching. 
Crucified Jesus, help me in my crucifixion. I unite my tears with 
the Blood of Your wounds. May all serve for the good of my dear 
ones, for souls, for all souls.
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