Editor’s note: Throughout July we are celebrating 31 days with St. Ignatius, a month-long celebration of Ignatian spirituality. In addition to the calendar of Ignatian articles available here, this month’s posts will examine dotMagi’s cannonball moments – moments that changed the course of a life, just as a cannonball hit the life of St. Ignatius Loyola has changed. The inspiration for our theme is the Ignatian Year, which marks the 500th anniversary of Ignatius’ injury and conversion.
My life changed 14 years ago when my newborn son was first placed in my arms. Love rose within me from a depth that I had never experienced before when I felt his small, soft body snugly securely against mine. Tears rolled down my face as I looked at his beautiful face and slowly absorbed the entirety of his creation: the shape of his eyes; his peach colored hair; the touch and smell of his skin. After enjoying this exquisite gift from God for a moment, I leaned over to kiss my son’s tiny forehead. When my lips touched his skin, I spoke the words “I love you Brady” in a low voice for the first time. The moment these words left my mouth, I knew my life would never be the same. I became a mom.
St. Ignatius can be characterized by a before and an after. There was life before a cannonball hit his leg and life after the cannonball. That moment changed his whole life. Suddenly he found himself on a path that led him to a further deepening of his life in God. It was a way to more: more love, more mercy, more forgiveness, more freedom, more joy and more hope.
My life can also be shaped by a before and after. There was life before motherhood and life after. My life was changed not by a cannonball hitting my leg, but by placing my son in my arms. It was the moment I accepted the calling that I know in my bones is the path that will lead me to more. My motherhood is a living expression of the final line of the First Principle and the foundation as translated by David Fleming, SJ: “I want and I choose what better leads to God’s deeper life within me.”
Being a mother deepens God’s life in me. I first learned this with my son Brady 14 years ago, and my understanding broadened when we welcomed our daughter Abby 12 years ago and our daughter Mary seven years ago. Every child evokes a deep sense of awe and love that drives me to put my love into action.
Motherhood invites me daily to learn how to love God. It tries to be a steady, loving presence in my children’s lives. It means learning that the basic tasks that go with being a parent – like cooking food, doing laundry, driving kids to school, helping them with difficult tasks, and helping their friendships – are concrete expressions of love for my children. It’s listening when a teenager suddenly decides out of the blue to share about life, even with millions of tasks on my mind. It tries to offer forgiveness and mercy to a little one who has made a mistake and tries to love them in that moment as God loves me. It means seeing my children as God sees them and nurturing the God-given gifts and talents in each of them.
Just as Ignatius came out in faith after his cannonball moment, motherhood also requires a deep trust in God. It challenges me to wake up every day and do my best to trust that God’s grace will be enough not only for me but for each of my beautiful children. My life since becoming a mother has continued to teach me that I can love more than I ever thought possible and in ways I never thought possible. I haven’t been the same since I became a mother, and I thank God every day for this cannonball moment in my life.
Photo by Lisa from Pexels.
Today in 31 Days with St. Ignatius, discover questions inspired by the letters of St. Ignatius by Marina Berzins McCoy. Then use the hashtag # 31Days with Ignatius on your favorite social media to share what questions Ignatius inspires for you.