By J.R. Miller
The picture of the Virgin Mother and the Holy Child has wrought itself inextricably into the life of Christendom. It is a blessed evangel wherever it is seen-- sweetening homes, softening hearts, inspiring heavenly aspirations. But in the light of the story of Jesus Christ every mother and child have a deep interest to all true-hearted people. To the reverent mind, motherhood is always sacred. It stands near to God. When a little child is laid in the arms of a mother, a holy trust is committed to her, an immortal life in its first beginnings, which she is to train and make ready for its mission.
It was a holy trust indeed that was committed to Mary, when she was chosen to be the mother of the Redeemer. It behooved her to be holy in her own person and diligent in her care of her child. But scarcely less serious--is the responsibility of every mother. She does not know for what lofty mission her child has been born. Her hand must never slacken, nor must she fail God in her duty as a mother, else she may wreck a divine plan for a life.
Great is a mother's joy as she sees her child grow up in purity and strength--the answer to her prayers, the fruit of her faithfulness. Ofttimes, too, sorrow falls to the lot of motherhood. When Mary presented her Child to God in the Temple, she was granted a vision of His future greatness--but she was shown a vision also of a day when she should stand by His Cross--her own heart pierced by the nails that pierced His hands and feet.
The veil is not lifted to reveal to other mothers, what experiences their children may meet, yet there are few mothers whose love does not bring them grief as well as joy. There is always pain in the responsibility of motherhood, in love's solicitudes. Many times, too, is there sorrow over the failure of bright dreams. Sometimes it is suffering in her children, which makes the mother stand pale and with anguished heart beside them. Or it may be their early death that is the cause of her grief. Motherhood never misses pain. But pain enriches. Only the mother who suffers--learns love's holiest secrets.