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Icons of Christ: extolling the deep meaning of every mother’s suffering

Catherine Pakaluk is our neighbor, friend, and a professor at Ave Maria University. She is a mother, and this week that is the focus of her column:

…But I think we should talk more about the negatives. Not to be dour, of course, but to help people understand the fundamental meaning of the Christian vocation, a message that is central to Mulieris Dignitatem and the Second Vatican Council. You just can’t advance these majestic teachings on a cartoon image of the pregnant woman that sweeps away hardships. People do not want to escape from sufferings. They want to know that their sufferings have meaning…

This is my favorite line from the column: “And just like pregnancy—Christianity seems to make sense and be cool for a while at the beginning, right up to the point when you realize, and you always do, that running the race to the finish calls for laying down your life.”

This Madonna and Child shows them pausing during the flight into Egypt – see Caravaggio’s original painting for the full scene. This painting is by Cornelius Sullivan, a member of the Ave Maria community.

That’s what every mom MUST do while pregnant and usually does after the child is born. That is what is so compellingly beautiful about every mom. That is why motherhood is the best icon of Christ – and that is precisely why motherhood is rejected by so many. According to Catherine, maybe talking about it more will help more women understand the meaning of that suffering instead of simply dreading it.

Thank you to all the mothers in Ave Maria. Thank you for your witness – for being icons.

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