We are offering a series of fifteen posts on living out the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy in motherhood.
Today is our third in a series of fifteen posts and focuses on the inherent mercy of motherhood, Give Drink to the Thirsty.
St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “Only one secret: the closer we come to Jesus, the better we will know his thirst.” How do we quench the thirst of our Savior on the cross? One way is by giving drink to the thirsty among us: our children. Most of us would agree, we live out this vocation most at bedtime! What is it about the donning of pajamas and the reading of stories that causes life-threatening dehydration and universally parched mouths? Every mother knows, we spends lots of time giving drink to the thirsty.
There is something especially beautiful about the fact that for the first several months of life, infants can only drink in order to eat. You are spending hours of your time fulfilling TWO corporal works of mercy! You are feeding and giving drink to Christ for hours and hours every day. “When I was thirsty you gave me drink” (Mt 25:35). This work can be especially trying for you new mothers. You spend countless hours of your life giving drink to the thirsty whether with breast or bottle, and it is an act of perpetual giving. You give of your body for the body of another. This is true over and over again in motherhood, but by God’s perfect design, it is also true when fulfilling the first two Corporal Works of Mercy.
Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Just as we reflected last week on the relationship between feeding our children’s bodies and feeding their souls, so too does the correlation work here. Once again by meeting their need, you are teaching them what it is to thirst and to be satisfied bodily, which is the only way they can begin to understand “thirsting” for Christ in a spiritual way. You are fulfilling a beautiful, merciful act of love every time you quench the thirst of your children, big and small.
Ask the Lord to remind you this week, as you selflessly give, and plan, and pour out your life for your children, of the countless opportunities he gives you every day to quench the thirst of the needy, just as you would quench the thirst of Christ in his need.