December 8, 2006

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Heart of motherhood and motherly prayers

Shirley Vogler MeisterImagine the following paragraph in its original poetic form. Then imagine Mary of Nazareth reading the following poem during her early months of pregnancy with Jesus.

Mary is who I thought of the first time I saw the poem in Donna-Marie Cooper O’Doyle’s Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers, published last year by Our Sunday Visitor.

A Glimpse into the Future

“If a woman could ever get a glimpse at what her world would be when she becomes a mother, she would be presented with the reality that her innermost desires and life plans would be altered or put on hold because she would be inundated with the care of others.

“If she was also allowed to glimpse the unending joy she would receive as a mother, there would be no pause to consider, no hesitation, as she embraced the whole package, knowing in her heart that her children will become her life’s desires.

“Imagine Mary’s anticipation of her baby in the same way most mothers anticipate all their children—with a little trepidation for what’s ahead but also with pure love and hope. It is a blessing to be able to dwell on the blessings, unaware of the heartaches that often come with those blessings.”

The author’s book, which includes beautiful reflections and prayers, ends with this inspirational message: “A mother should ‘be not afraid’ to be an inspiring example to her family and to others … enjoy and savor your vocation of love, the marvelous pilgrimage of motherhood.”

As we move through Advent toward Christmas, it behooves us to hold these thoughts dear to our hearts.

However, even more in-depth is another book by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle titled The Heart of Motherhood: Finding Holiness in the Catholic Home, distributed by Crossroad Publishing Company this year.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta personally wrote to the author many times, endorsing this book and giving permission to quote her in it, but also saying, “Your books on mothers and expectant mothers are much needed.” She later added, “I pray that this does much good.”

Shortly before the beatification of Blessed Teresa, Pope John Paul II also imparted his apostolic blessing on the author, her family and her work “as a pledge of joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Recently, O’Boyle has also heard from Pope Benedict XVI.

As many Catholic mothers do, O’Boyle considers motherhood her vocation. She dedicates her books to her husband and their five children. A resident of New Milford, Conn., O’Boyle is an award-winning author and a lay Missionary of Charity.

Book topics include “Our World Needs Saints,” “The Extraordinary Vocation,” “Mary—Our Sublime Model,” “Family Prayer,” “Saintly Mothers,” “A Call to Holiness,” “Splinters from the Cross” and “Everyday Miracles.” (Log on to †

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.) †

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