Quote of the day, 16 July: St. John Paul II

My dear brothers and sisters:

I would like to continue also today, in this splendid mountain locality, the theme that I have been developing for some weeks now. It cannot be stressed enough that a woman must be valued in all aspects of life. However, it must be recognized that, among the gifts and tasks that are proper to her, her vocation to motherhood stands out in a special way.

With it, the woman assumes almost a foundational role with respect to society. It is a role she shares with her husband, but it is indisputable that nature has attributed to her the greater part. In this regard, I wrote in the Apostolic Letter 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).

From the maternal vocation springs woman’s unique relationship with human life. By opening herself to motherhood, she feels life blossoming and growing in her womb. It is the privilege of mothers to have this ineffable experience, but all women, in some way, have an intuition of it, since they are predisposed to this admirable gift.

The maternal mission is also the foundation of a particular responsibility. The mother is positioned to be the protector of life. It is up to her to welcome it with care, fostering that first dialogue of the human being with the world, which takes place precisely in symbiosis with the maternal body. This is where the history of every human being begins. Each one of us, tracing this history, cannot but arrive at that moment when we began to exist inside our mother’s body, with an exclusive and unmistakable life plan. We were in our mother, but without confusing ourselves 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 child growing within her. And precisely by becoming a gift, she knows herself better and is fulfilled in her femininity. It could be said that the fragility of her creature awakens her best affective and spiritual resources. It is a true exchange of gifts! The success of this exchange is of inestimable value for the serene development of the child.

Mary, whom we invoke today under the title of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel, fully experienced this, for she had the mission of engendering in time the eternal Son of God. In her, the maternal vocation reached the peak of its dignity and potential. May the Blessed Virgin help women to become increasingly aware of their mission and encourage society as a whole to express to mothers every possible form of grateful and active concern and support.

Saint John Paul II

Angelus address, 16 July 1995
Val d’Aosta, Italy

Pope John Paul II celebrates Mass at the altar built on the peaks of Mount Adamello, 16 July 1988. Image credit: Gregorini Demetrio / Wikimedia Commons (Some rights reserved)

Translation from the Italian text is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

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