This year we dedicate this calendar to motherhood.Each one of us came into the world through a mother and most of the time we grew up close to her accepting her motherly care.Undoubtedly the role of being a mother is a very important one, so it is our duty to honour it and to proclaim it as a necessary component of a healthy society.
The first mother was Eve, who was mandated by God, not only to raise her children but to ensure she educated them .The way that women carry their babies plus their maternal temperament, completely fulfils their duty towards their children and subsequently this role was enlarged to take in the wider society as a whole. Imbued with many special features which are not present in men, maternal affection is one of the most prominent features of womankind and usually manifests itself whether children are born from their own mother or are adopted or fostered.
A mother figure is the foundation, which over time, engenders a coherent family and it is an essential element of any healthy social group or wider community.
Conversely, the absence of a maternal presence creates a great void. Severe social and psychological problems can manifest themselves at all levels and periods of a person’s life when a mother does not meet the duties and obligations to her child.
When a mother deprives her children of her influence in their upbringing, because she has chosen to take on another life role by competing for responsibilities with a spouse or another person, she can create a critical problem in her child’s life that will follow that child throughout his or her natural life.
Modern ways of life, some of which are devoid of moral principles, even if they are legalised by various governments, sometimes threaten to undermine the purpose of motherhood. Any opinions, ostensibly on the modernisation of the position of the contemporary persona of a woman and the concepts of gender equality, can lead to trouble in the harmony of the family environment resulting in victimisation for everyone, especially the children.
We can mention some current examples such as the scientific community’s stated intention to create life in the laboratory, the adoption of children by non-normal couples or individuals, and the most criminal of all, the abortion of unborn children, which is the intentional murder of human beings.
In societies where traditional morality and essential religious beliefs are strong, we usually find honest and visionary people and not wicked and belligerent sub-humans. It is no coincidence that societies that are considered “conservative” and are usually secretly or overtly targeted by unknown groups of people who advocate the so-called “new order of things”, have the qualities and strengths that engender harmonious life and productive activity with comparable progress in communities and the states where they live.
Conversely peoples and nations, who have abandoned their moral doctrines have unfortunately entered a vicious circle of underdevelopment and suffer from poverty and ignorance and sometimes they even face a decrease in their population.
We, as Orthodox Christians, have so much to gain if we appreciate the role of the mother figure and support and highlight it within the societies in which we live. By setting a good example with the mothers of our Faith, we can demonstrate the proper protocol for all new mothers.
There are many well-known mothers who are genuine examples of unpretentious motherhood, with the first and foremost being the Mother of God, Our Lady The Blessed Virgin Mary.
There is also the shining example of St. Helen who nurtured Constantine the Great and how he later established the freedom of belief.
We also know that St. Monica, with her unceasing prayers, managed to restore her son Augustine who later become a bishop in the Church. We can also learn from the countless mothers through the centuries whose steadfastness not to deny the name of Jesus Christ, led them to become martyrs.
So I encourage our mothers to devote all their powers to educate and nurture their children well, enabling them to become useful members of society and to avoid any worthless and dangerous habits of the modern world. Motherhood is a positive contribution to correcting so many misconceptions of society and it is a mighty shield that will protect our society from the enemies of humanity.
With these thoughts, I wish you all a spiritual and creative new year.
+ Archbishop Sergios of Good Hope
Metropolitan Bishop of Cape Town