LIGHT OF THE HOME – What does it mean to be a mother?

Featured Image: Photo by Paul Lin on Unsplash

Ross Belle Balatbat

Mother – in defining it – it is virtually endless.  Because motherhood is inherent to the individual they are not aware that their role as mothers is written all over the Scriptures. Mothers are truly blessed by God in assuming their vocation, with Mother Mary as a model. There is a popular saying in the Philippines that goes like this: “Ina, ilaw ng tahanan” (“Mother, light of the home”). The goal of a wise mother is to give light at home.  As she invests time and effort in her children’s lives, she will reap the rewards of their wisdom and good character in the future. She just wants to address all the needs of the lives that God has entrusted to her.

No matter how good the intention of a mother in rearing her children is, it is still up to her children to decide what they want to be when they have taken charge of their own lives. However, whatever their choices be she is supportive.

“Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world” (John 16:21). A mother is always ready to make sacrifices for her children no matter how hard she toils. Proverbs 31:13-24 enumerates what a mother does from dawn to night, day after day for her children. Before the kids wake up she already prepares stuff for them. All day long she almost does not stop, after putting them on bed, still, she still has work to do. And when her children have lives of their own, she continues to support, even just with her silence. Saint Luke gives us a beautiful thought in his Gospel as he wrote: “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (2:19), and tells us yet again: “and his mother kept all these things in her heart” (2:51b). Mary reacts to the mysteries of God in the same way any mother does for her children. She reflects. She ponders. She keeps all these things in her heart – a mother’s instincts. 

“My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you” (Galatians 4:19). From the Scriptures, a mother has to have an unconditional love. Instinctively she knows that from the day he or she is born, a child will test her patience. Regardless of what children do or say, being a mother means loving them just the same. Children who receive love and attention from their mother are more likely to be with the same circle of loving people. A mother shows her child how much she loves them with hugs and kisses, she listens to her child, plays games with him or her, gives quality time or even makes creative, personal stuff letting her children know how much she loves them. In this way, love is passed on to the next generation spontaneously, without pressure.

A mother can multi-task as a protector, a disciplinarian and a friend. A mother is a selfless, loving person who readily sacrifices most of her wants and needs in place for the wants and needs of her children. A mother works hard to make sure her child is furnished with the knowledge, skills, abilities and values to make him/her turn into a competent person. Being a mother is perhaps the hardest but most rewarding vocation a woman will ever experience. Therefore, she is an instrument in making “a home [into] a gift of loving presence which leads each family member to Jesus” (Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, World Meeting of Families 2015).  Being the light of her home, a mother starts a spark in her children’s hearts who in turn become lights to others as well.

Happy Mother’s day to All Mothers!