Motherhood is a calling - by Ben Bonython
On the cross, John 19:26 records:
When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, "Dear woman, here is your son."
I believe motherhood is a calling. The world is dotted with biological mothers who never entered into the calling or vocation of motherhood.
Notice that Jesus speaks to the woman first. She receives the call first. The mother is always a first responder, the first to react, the first to care, the first to sacrifice. And this is true biologically – once the seed is received and joins the woman, not only does reproduction commence, but now as mother, the woman moves immediately to create an environment within that is suitable for life to thrive – at the expense of herself. This physical imagery is a picture of how the gift of motherhood works in life. Motherhood makes space and ensures that life does not just survive, rather everything is done for life to grow and thrive.
It is important to note that Jesus says to Mary – ‘here is your son’. not another someone to care for or protect.
And Jesus say to John – ‘here is your mother’… not just another mother to offer fashion advice, or provide for.
Mary entered into the home of her son (Jn 19:27). Jesus affirms that motherhood is a calling and vocation. It is a choice freely made, therefore a gift freely given. Mary was not the biological mother of John, yet was she anything less than his mother?
In Church, you should have daughters and sons but as an older generation, it is your responsibility to move first into motherhood. And because of this, in Church, you should have mothers. The natural and right response is to embrace mums! The Church is a place where woman are called to practice motherhood. Motherhood should be obvious, experienced and celebrated.
Ida Scudder moved from the USA to India to care for her sick mother, nothing else. But over time, she entered into her calling as a missionary and never left India. She never married or had children, yet became a mother to many. The Christian Medical Centre in Vellore India stands today as a living and thriving and reproducing example of the gift of motherhood.
There is no formula that says you are a mother. But there are marks of motherhood such as sacrifice, carer, protector, giver, accepter, faithful…. Scudder may have been a doctor, but more dynamically, she bore the marks of motherhood and remembered lovingly by millions...What marks do you bare? Some marks are painful, others are fulfilling. But marks belong to motherhood. Today, we remember the marks of motherhood, and honour a woman’s heavenly calling to motherhood. Today, may we intentionally be grateful – and thankful for the calling of motherhood!