• Sarah Raad


“Every mother is like Moses. She does not enter the promised land. She prepares a world she will not see.” (Pope Paul IV).

Madonna and Child (Sassoferrato)

I have been reflecting on the Patriarchs of the Old Testament, and most especially on Moses, who God chose to lead the Israelites from Egypt. And I have been reflecting on this Patriarch, Moses, because he reminds me very much of the role of motherhood…

Alice Von Hildebrand was an Belgium-American Catholic philosopher and theologian who died in January 2022. Hildebrand wrote, “A woman by her very nature is maternal – for every woman, whether married or unmarried, is called upon to be a biological, psychological, or spiritual mother – she knows intuitively that to give, to nurture, to care for others, to suffer with and for them – for maternity implies suffering – is infinite more valuable in God’s sight than to conquer nations and fly to the moon.”

And Moses too, was born to give… You see, Moses was born for a purpose, and his mother saved his life when he was an infant so that he could fulfil his purpose for God. After he was born, his mother placed him in a basket and set it afloat on the River Nile so that he could escape the persecution of Pharoah. That basket floated all the way to the Pharoah’s own palace and Moses grew up as a Prince of Egypt. Eventually, he realised his origins and was expelled by Pharaoh and travelled across the desert to live as a nomadic shepherd at the base of Mount Sinai, until he climbed the Mountain and “There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed.” (Exodus 3:1)…

And God revealed Himself to Moses… “And God said unto Moses, ‘I Am That I Am’: and He said, ‘Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.’” (Exodus 3:7–8).

And it is not the revelation of the ONE TRUE GOD, or the ten plagues of Egypt that eventually persuaded the Pharoah to release the Israelites, or the parting of the Red Sea, or the Ten Commandments, or even the journey to the Promised Land that has fascinated me about Moses...

It is Moses’ inability to enter the Promised Land. You see, God told Moses, “Because you broke faith with Me in the midst of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat Me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel.” (Deuteronomy, 32:51-52).

And it is this denial by God that reminds me of the suffering intrinsic to the role of motherhood… Pope Paul IV said, “Every mother is like Moses. She does not enter the promised land. She prepares a world she will not see.”

And I reflect on that gift of Motherhood – for we women share it with the Queen of Heaven… For “Every mother, when she picks up the young life that has been born to her, looks up to the heavens to thank God for the gift, which made the world young again. But here was a Mother, a Madonna, who did not look up. She looked down to Heaven, this this was Heaven in her arms.” (Venerable Fulton Sheen).

And I adore that Heaven in Her arms – I worship and adore Him – the Infant Christ! For He is King of the Universe, come to earth so that the Queen of Heaven could hold Heaven itself in Her arms and share Heaven – and all its glory – with me…

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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