“The woman is at the heart of the home. Let us pray that we women realize the reason for our existence: to love and be loved and through this love become instruments of peace in the world.” Mother Teresa
Our purpose as women is such a grand one. This quote comes from one of the greatest women of the twentieth century, a humble, yet dynamic woman, a gentle, yet strong woman, and a doubtful, yet hopeful woman who is an example of who we are to be. This woman of paradoxes is an example of how we are to be married women, though she, of course, was a single nun.
The beginning of this quote tells us to pray. Mother Teresa begins, “Let us pray.” We first and foremost must pray, pray for ourselves, pray for our children, pray for our world. The act of praying, for a woman, is our first step in realizing our function as women. We emulate the Blessed Mother who prays for us, her children, always.
The realization for our existence is why God placed us women on earth. We are not men; we have a distinct role as women and we need to realize that role. We are nurturers, caregivers, life-givers—just as God made us. We do not have to be mothers necessarily to realize these functions; we can be doctors, teachers, nurses, religious, store clerks, coaches—you name it—and we can nurture our world. We do have to recognize that as women, we are instinctively mothers, however, whether or not we ever give birth.
The act of loving is the main role of women, of all people really. But just where is it we all learn to love? If we are lucky, it is from our mothers. The most unconditional of loves is that of the mother, and Mother Teresa says we are to love, to express affection to others, to be protective and strong, especially when others in our care cannot be. The paradox here lies in that we have to be loved as well. We need to show our children and all others how to accept love and to revere the love we receive. The love that is the most obvious to allow is that from our husbands. We need to show our children how men should treat women and how to accept pure and healthy love from men, and men are to show how men are express that love to women. Men are built to support and women have to allow them to recognize their role too. In permitting our husbands to love us, we enable our children and those around us to love and be loved. In choosing to love and be loved, we teach our children to conscientiously choose love in their lives and subsequently in their future marriages. Our families need father and mother, male and female, to benefit from every opportunity to love the way God means for us to love.
If love thrives in this way in our families, it will extend to the world around us. If peace and love are ways of life within our household, then we can model that nurture, protection, and care to others. The microcosm of our households will eventually be mirrored in the macrocosm of the greater world. Mother Teresa also said, “There is much suffering because there is so very little love in homes and in family life. We have no time for our children, we have no time for each other; there is no time to enjoy each other. In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.” So, just as the family is disrupted and the world is disrupted, so too if the family is in harmony, the world will be in harmony. It all starts with allowing our family members to assume the appropriate complementary roles, to pray, to love, to be loved and to reflect that love to the world.
Charla is a life-long Catholic, married since 1995. She has three children who attend Catholic school and university. Charla has been teaching high school English literature at the same Catholic high school she attended for over 15 years. She has Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Latin American Studies, and Secondary Education, as well as a Masters degree in Education. Charla has served as a lector and Eucharistic minister at her parish and school. She enjoys reading, cooking, running, and all activities involving her children. Her special devotions are to the Blessed Mother, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and the Holy Rosary.