Nor is this latter responsibility less imperative than the former. If she would consider herself derelict of duty to leave her offspring without the nourishment which sustains their natural and temporal life, still
more guilty would she be were she to deprive them of the nourishment which will insure their supernatural and eternal life.
And how admirably is she not fitted for this latter mission, of the two the more important and more noble ! She is by excellence the teacher of her children. Now we all know that much of the progress of a pupil depends not only on his natural gifts and talents, but also on the degree of confidence inspired by his teacher. But who shares the affection and confidence of the child like the mother? Does he not believe every word she says? And how firmly, therefore, and how deeply may not the Christian mother instil into his young mind those religious truths which will ever remain a pure and wholesome nourishment for his soul, giving it strength to reject the poison of unbelief so temptingly offered to it at some later day.
And if the mother be a true Christian—if she show forth in her own life the habit of the virtues which she desires to instil into the hearts of her children—how nobly and how successfully will she fulfill her mission ! The child is by nature an imitator. If the model set before him is good, there is reason to hope that the copy will be so likewise. Do mothers realize this? And when later in life they fail to see in their children the Christian virtues of humility, patience, charity, and forgiveness, do they not also fail to trace the absence of these virtues to its true and legitimate cause?
Oh ! that all mothers would bear in mind that if they desire their children to become true Christians they must present in their own lives the models of which the children will be the living copies.
The object of this little book is to procure this result. May God bless the Christian mothers who read it and profit by it !
Archbishop of Baltimore.
Feast of St. Callistus, 1880.
A PDF file of the above book, "The Christian Mother," can be found below as well as a link to an online version.