Prayerful mothers


“Lord Almighty, look at me, your servant! See my trouble and remember me! Don’t forget me! If you give me a son, I promise that I will dedicate him to you for his whole life and that he will never have his hair cut”  – I Samuel 1:11

Solomonic Wisdom

In celebration of Women’s Month, let us focus our reflections on the unique role of women as mothers.  To be a mother is not simply to give birth to a child; a genuine mother truly cares for the child and helps him grow to become the kind of person he ought to be. This was shown in a difficult case resolved by King Solomon in the early stage of his reign as king of Israel (cf. I Samuel 3:16-28).

Two mothers came to him both claiming a living child as their own and that a dead child belonged to the other.  Then, King Solomon asked for a sword and ordered his servant to cut the child into two and to give each woman half of it.  The first woman earnestly pleaded for the king not to kill the child and gave him instead to the second woman.  But the second woman insisted to cut the child into two.  Then, King Solomon ordered to stop killing the child and gave him to the first woman, for he believed she was the real mother.

This is wisdom.  In the Bible, wisdom is a lesson learned from life that would lead us to a good and successful life.  Though wisdom ultimately comes from God through natural and special revelations, such lesson in life is learned from our own observations of the things around us or from our own experiences or those of other people.  Wise men and women are people who learned lessons from life. King Solomon learned for sure from his own experiences that a genuine mother will never allow her own child to perish.  She would not mind giving him to the other woman as long as her child would live.

God in Child-bearing and Child-rearing

Needless to say, child-rearing is never an easy task.  Child-bearing is already difficult, but it is even more difficult to make the child “grow in body and in wisdom, gaining favour with God and people” Lk. 2:52).  Some mothers would even give up doing this task of child-rearing for various reasons and would rather pay other people to do this task for them.  Some would just abandon their new babies near churches or just throw them away in a garbage can.  And worst, some would even kill their unwanted child.

But mothers should bear in mind that God is the giver of life and that he commissioned mothers to bear and nurture and sustain life.  Human life could not simply survive without mothers to bear and care for it. Some even say that God cannot be in all places, thus he created mothers. Hence, mothers are God’s partners in bearing and rearing human life.  Mothers, therefore, should enlist God’s help through prayers in bearing and rearing their children.

Two Prayerful Mothers

Let’s take two examples of mothers from church history and from Scriptures whose prayer life had helped a lot in moulding the lives of their children.  First is Monica, the mother of St. Augustine.  In his youth, Augustine was such a very naughty person.  Thus, his single mother Monica had always been anxious what would happen to his son.  Augustine wanted to study in Rome to become a lawyer, but Monica, a devout Christian, had always been praying that her son would not go to Rome for he might get into trouble in that big city.

Nevertheless, Augustine went to Rome, and Monica thought that God did not answer her prayers.  In Rome, Augustine had to master public speaking. And so, he had to go to Milan to listen to Bishop Ambrose, who at that time was the most popular preacher.  While listening to Bishop Ambrose, Augustine, a follower of an ancient religion called Mithraism, was converted to Christianity, and became a priest, a bishop, and a saint of the church.  Indeed, God answered Monica’s prayer more than she expected.

And the second example is from our Scripture lesson.  This is about Hannah, the mother of Prophet Samuel.  Hannah was childless.  In ancient Israel, to be childless was a sign of God’s curse, because there’ll be no one to take care of the mother when she’ll be old.  But Hannah earnestly prayed to God saying, “Lord Almighty, look at me your servant! See my trouble and remember me! Don’t forget me! If you give me a son, I promise that I will dedicate him to you for his whole life and that he will never have his hair cut” (I Sam. 1:11).  Having no haircut from childhood onwards was a sign of being a nazirite.  A nazirite is a person who is consecrated to God even before he is born.

God answered Hannah’s prayer and gave her a son named Samuel.  As she promised, Hannah offered her son Samuel to the Lord to be his servant.  Samuel grew up under the tutelage of a priest named Eli.  Later on, Samuel also became a priest, a prophet, and a judge of Israel. #