The Complementarity of Motherhood and Priesthood


Mother’s Day gives us a chance to reflect on the meaning of motherhood. God created man and woman as complementary with each other. It should be no surprise that there would be similarities between the unique vocation of men (the priesthood) and the unique vocation of women (motherhood).
Like priesthood, motherhood is a calling. A man does not so much choose the priesthood, as God calls him for it. God likewise calls the woman to become a mother. In our culture we speak about the “choice” to have a child. While choice is certainly involved, ultimately choice is not enough. Any couple who has struggled to have children know this all too well. Whether the child comes to fruition is the result of forces out of our control: biology and God.
Like priesthood, motherhood changes the woman. When a man is ordained a priest, he is forever changed; able to act in the person of Christ. In becoming a mother, the woman is changed: physically, psychologically and spiritually. She is forever marked with the title mother. While the change in the priest enables him to restore eternal life through the sacraments; the change in the woman allows her to begin life through her body.
Like priesthood, motherhood involves the complete gift of oneself. The priest is meant to give his life for his people. Likewise, the mother gives everything to her child: her body, her attention, her love. When the priest celebrates the Mass, he proclaims: “this is my body given up for you.” The mother can say the same to her child: “This is my body, given up for you.”
Blessings to all mothers.