By: Sister Mary Colombiere, O.C.D.

Does God smile?

Have you ever seen a little child look up to its mother and smile? Such a scene captures the relationship between mother and child – the expression of motherhood.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta once remarked, “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

Recently I received a note from a priest friend and it was signed, “In Mary, the Smile of God”. That has been echoing in my mind for several days now.

Since Mary is Jesus’ Mother, then she is God’s Mother and each time Jesus looked up at her and smiled, God smiled.

How blessed Mary was to be the recipient of that smile!

That smile embodies not only natural motherhood but spiritual motherhood as well. So, just what is spiritual motherhood?

It is a participation in the universal motherhood of Mary by which women, regardless of their state of life, nurture the divine life in others through caring, love, and concern. The early Church expressed this need in Titus 2:3–5 which gives a brief glimpse of the importance of this role from the beginning. Paul instructs Timothy to ask older women to act in the lives of their younger counterparts and Titus refers to an older woman being an example to younger women.

This “motherhood” reaches its highest point in caring for the souls of priests since Mary herself nurtured the soul of Jesus, our High Priest.

Mother Luisita lived out her spiritual motherhood long before establishing a religious community. When she and her husband Paschal realized that God was not blessing them with natural children, they agreed to make “the poor” their children. This extended from the care of the sick and of orphans to the various ministries in which we serve today in healthcare, education and retreat work. Her spiritual motherhood was quite evident in the care of both the body and soul which she exhibited in her interaction with the Sisters of her religious community.

But dads, do not feel left out. In our society today, in which many fathers are absent from the home, you have an increasing responsibility to play in spiritual fatherhood. What is said here regarding women is true of you also in your paternal role.

Behold your Mother.