MISSION OF MOTHERHOOD MAKES WOMAN A GUARDIAN OF LIFE WHO MUST ENCOURAGE CHILD'S DIALOGUE WITH WORLD
Pope John Paul II
Angelus Message, July 16, 1995

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. Today, too, in this splendid place in the mountains, I would like to continue the talks I have been developing over the past few weeks. The fact can never be sufficiently stressed that woman must be appreciated in every area of her life. However, it must be recognized that, among the gifts and tasks proper to her, her vocation to motherhood stands out particularly clearly.

With this gift woman assumes almost a "foundational" role with regard to society. It is a role she shares with her husband but it is indisputable that nature has assigned to her the greater part. I wrote about this in Mulieris dignitatem: "Parenthood—even though it belongs to both—is realized much more fully in the woman, especially in the prenatal period. It is the woman who pays directly for this shared generation, which literally absorbs the energies of her body and soul. It is therefore necessary that the man be fully aware that in their shared parenthood he owes a special debt to the woman" (n. 18).

Woman's singular relationship with human life derives from her vocation to motherhood. Opening herself to motherhood, she feels the life in her womb unfolding and growing. This indescribable experience is a privilege of mothers, but all women have in some way an intuition of it, predisposed as they are to this miraculous gift.

2. The maternal mission is also the basis of a particular responsibility. The mother is appointed guardian of life. It is her task to accept it with care, encouraging the human being's first dialogue with the world, which is carried out precisely in the symbiosis with the mother's body. It is here that the history of every human being begins. Each one of us, retracting this history, cannot fail to reach that moment when he began to exist within his mother's body, with an exclusive and unmistakable plan of life. We were "in" our mother, but without being confused with her: in need of her body and her love, but fully autonomous in our personal identity.

The woman is called to offer the best of herself to the baby growing within her. It is precisely by making herself "gift", that she comes to know herself better and is fulfilled in her femininity. One could say that the fragility of her creature demands the best of her emotional and spiritual resources. It is a real exchange of gifts! The success of this exchange is of inestimable value for the child's serene growth.

3. Mary, whom we invoke today under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, experienced this to the full, having received the task of generating, in time, the eternal Son of God. In her the vocation to motherhood reached the summit of its dignity and potential. May the Blessed Virgin help women to be ever more aware of their mission and encourage the whole of society to express every possible form of gratitude and active closeness to mothers!


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