Editor's Note: I'm so happy to congratulate my friend and fellow CatholicMom.com contributor Julie Paavola on the publication of her wonderful book The Mother's Calling: Love in the Heart of the World.  It's such a wonderful resource for any mom - I hope you'll enjoy it and share it with your friends!  LMH

March 16, 2011

“My son, Joseph, was born in North Carolina in April, as we were enjoying a beautiful spring. But the morning he was born, the air took on a crisp, cold quality. The trees held their breath, and suddenly it began to snow! Newspapers featured pictures of amazed faces looking up at the falling snow. When I saw the snow outside my hospital window, it made me feel like heaven was just delighted about Joseph’s birth. And I was so delighted to become a mother that day. This story symbolizes how Joseph is dear to me, like Isaac was reminded of Jacob whenever he smelled the fragrant field; I am reminded of Joseph when I see delicate flakes of snow falling.” From The Mother’s Calling, p. 107

This story, taken from my newly released, The Mother’s Calling: Love in the Heart of the World, describes one of my most happy memories on the day I became a mother.

We all have blessed remembrances like this. From the moment our child is born, we begin creating these memories. We ponder them in our hearts, like Mary did (Luke 1-). As we reflect, we come to better understand our own lives, as women and as mothers, and to live more deeply our vocation to be a force of love in the world. The family and community into which a child is born must be simply a place of sharing the sweetness and the pains of life with an attitude of love. This atmosphere forms and molds our children and us. Because our children long for encouragement, we are summoned to show courage; because they need the limits of discipline, we are challenged to be self-disciplined; because they thirst for love, we are asked, by the Lord, to be loving and patient, even when we don’t feel like it. When we’re tired, or blue, or just have had enough! So God teaches mothers the spiritual path in a natural way, calling us to be followers of Jesus in our daily walk.

I invite you to nurture your prayer life as you read each of the seven chapters of The Mother’s Calling. As I send articles your way this Lent, giving a seed for contemplation from each chapter, I invite you to note your own blessed remembrances and the gift of each child. You and your family are in my prayers as you seek to grow into your vocation as a mother, and spread the love of your calling beyond and into the world.

Copyright 2011 Julie Paavola