A Mother’s Love


The radicality of Christian morality is often underestimated. “Do no harm.” That’s not it. “Treat others as you wish to be treated.” Hardly.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

We are not called merely to tolerance and fairness. Good fences make good neighbors, it is true. But so do conversations and shared meals. We are called to community. We are called to love.

Love is interested. Love is hopeful and merciful. Love is generous and sacrificial. It’s not enough to “live and let live.” To love our neighbors as God loves all human beings is to offer our whole selves, always, regardless of merit. It is a gift and a promise, not a contract.

For many of us, to love others as we love ourselves is setting the bar too low. Think instead of a good mother’s love.

Though her child fails and fails again, she hopes. Though her child is crippled or ugly, she adores. Though he is cruel, she feeds his soul with kindness. Though he neglects and ignores her, she welcomes him back with eagerness. She prays for her children when they are away. She tends to them when they are sick and weak. She slaves to give them every good thing and to fill their days with beauty and joy. Her life is theirs.

Christian love is without measure and offered to all. Certainly, the Lord gives to each of us particular persons to whom one should devote oneself especially (family, for example). But every person is precious. Everyone is a child whom Someone loves dearly.

Life begins with a mother. From there as well the best of human love often proceeds. Thank you for your good example. Happy Mother’s Day!

Published in Religion & Philosophy
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  1. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B

    Thank you for this. I went in a different direction for my Mother’s Day QOTD because I don’t like to write too much about myself or my children. From a sideways direction, I was getting at the same idea with this part of the quote: “…shaping a new generation of humanity in the hallowed and elevated role of motherhood for which untold descendants may one day rise up and call her blessed.” It’s a bit of a high bar, though. Easier for untold descendants to “call her blessed” than the immediate offspring who balk at being asked to do the dishes. 

    I’ll share just a part of my lovely home-made Mother’s Day card: “Without you, we would all be food-less, helpless, clean-clothes-less, and guidance-less.” I appreciate their gratitude and hope it extends out into the wider world. 

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