February 7th is a special day in my family. This day is the birth day of both my daughter and granddaughter. They share the same birthday and the same saint name, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth, wife of Zacharia and mother of John the Baptist, is a great role model for women of all ages. She would be considered very counter-culture in today’s society, which teaches women can only influence and weld power if they practice sex, contraception and abortion without restriction.
The bible teaches us that Elizabeth and her husband Zacharia were “righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” The married couple were childless in a society that put great emphasis on women’s role as the bearer of new life.
Elizabeth never lost faith in God. She lived up to her name, which means “God is my oath.” Elizabeth’s faithfulness was rewarded, for indeed God had a great plan for her and Zacharia.
The gospel of Luke tells us that Zacharia was visited by the angel Gabriel. The angel announced the future birth of a son, Luke 1:14, “And thou shalt have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice at his birth.”
This angel makes another visit to a very young cousin of Elizabeth, Mary. Upon hearing from the angel that Elizabeth was with child, Mary journeyed to be with her much older cousin. At the sight of Mary, Elizabeth proclaimed, Luke 1:42 “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.”
What a beautiful reunion between cousins! Two women of different generations, both blessed with new life. Two women expressing joy at the honor of becoming a creative partner with God!
I hope me and my Elizabeths can learn from this holy and good woman of long ago.
Today’s world teaches us to have faith in ourselves. Women are taught that they need only follow their desires for happiness. Fertility, pregnancy and childbirth are treated as a disease. Vulgarity and immodesty are considered paths to being accepted and loved. Society teaches women that thoughts of motherhood are outdated and these should be abandoned in exchange for business and worldly aspirations.
I reject that.
I believe we women are made for a purpose higher than ourselves. For some women, this purpose is to protect and nurture a new human being. Men are not designed by God for this purpose. This privilege is for women alone. It is only a woman who can actually contain two souls in one body. How awesome!
There is no more important ministry than raising a child. Children are our future. They are the future church. It is an awesome responsibility that God has given to woman.
As women, let us celebrate our womanhood! Let us praise God for motherhood and rejoice in our own mothers making those sacrifices needed to bring life into the world!
Maybe one day, my lovely Elizabeths will live in a world that appreciates and treasures its women and recognizes the gift of motherhood.
“When a man loves a woman, he has to be one worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen