The Divine Task of Motherhood - Wednesday, December 20
"And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
Genesis 3:15 (ESV)
Here on the Winnebago Indian Reservation, in northeast Nebraska, I lead Family Life Gatherings that emphasize the role of the divine tasks of fatherhood and motherhood.
Motherhood is the perfect illustration of a divine task. To understand the breadth of this divine task of the mother, we start with God’s work. God created a woman’s body in such a way that it can engender life in the womb. God sustains mother and child and allows that woman to work with Him to sustain and nourish the child He has given.
God works through the mother, and He also sustains her as his daughter. God gives meaning to service, even tying it together with the salvation of the human race. Our Lord works through motherhood so powerfully that, when the time was right, our heavenly Father sent his Son into the womb of a mother to live and die as our Redeemer and Savior. And it is that Christ-child who reveals to us so much about the divine task of motherhood.
According to Genesis, the divine task of motherhood entails both creation and redemption. Mothers are, through God, the source of life. Tragically, Satan, tempted Eve and she gave in to the ruin of “all living.” Whereupon her great power and callings as both mother and wife became crosses for her to bear.
Through the divine task of motherhood, a flesh-and-blood woman is still the source of a child’s life, but now the divine task involves difficulty and suffering—and the tribulations of motherhood are not restricted to the delivery room.
But at the same stroke, God redeems motherhood and turns the divine task into the means of bringing redemption. God condemns Satan, the Serpent, through the instrumentality of the mother: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel" [Genesis 3:15 ESV].
At this time of year, we reflect and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, Mary’s son and Mary’s Lord and Savior. We join the angels in praising God for this newborn child and prepare for His return when He will restore those who trust in Him to the way it was prior to Eve’s fall into sin in the new heavens on the new earth!
Dear Heavenly Father, we sing the song of Virgin Mary: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior. My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior. Amen.
[Special thanks to Gene Edward Veith Jr. and his daughter Mary J. Moerbe and their insights found in Family Vocation: God’s Calling in Marriage, Parenting, and Childhood]