Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mk 10: 35-45).
In reading this week’s Gospel, I was reminded of how often my children argue over who will be first in our home—the first to be rewarded after completing their daily chores, the first in line at our family’s Thanksgiving potluck, or even the first to be tucked in at night. At times the “me first” antics of our family life can be enough to drive me crazy.
During my initial reflection on family life, however, I was surprised by the Holy Spirit moving my lamentations away from my children and toward myself. The Holy Spirit awakened my contemplation. I thought of all the times when I have expected to be served rather than to serve. How often have I sought to be first in favor of serving others without an expectation of reward?
Serving without an expectation of reward or social media “likes” is quite the challenge for moms since our culture reflects just the opposite. Even in motherhood, the message is that we should expect some kind of reward or immediate gratification. Christ-centered motherhood, however, is counter cultural, and so the challenge by Christ to seek not to be served, but to serve is not only accepted, but embraced as the path to life. For as any Catholic mom will eagerly share, when we serve our families out of charity and our love for Christ, we know that doing so forms our children into people who do the same.
Returning back to my Holy Spirit-inspired question— “How can I be more Christ-like in serving my family without the expectation of reward? How might I live a life devoted to servant motherhood?”—I may not have all the answers completely sorted out just yet, but what I do know is that, in the coming weeks and months, I can begin first by turning to Mother Mary for guidance on how to embrace servant motherhood. Mary did not seek immediate reward or gratification for raising the Son of God, but quietly worked in the background serving Christ just as she was called to do. Her example of lifegiving service in the face of adversity is one to be not only cherished, but also embraced as the perfect model for servant motherhood.
The answers might vary a bit, but we can each address this question in the coming days: How can I answer God’s call to servant motherhood?