High Regard for Motherly Love
Words from Father J. Kentenich to the first seminarians in Schoenstatt, June 1914
Everything Out of Love
We understand it to the extent that we ourselves have served others. I am sure we have experienced the fact that serving others requires a higher degree of moral exertion than ruling. In serving others, we grow beyond ourselves and our own selfish, negative drives and tendencies. Serving others is eternal, inner heroism. That is why our Lord says: If you want to be first, you have to be the servant of all.
St. Paul did not want to rule. He did not want to be a cruel tyrant; he only wanted to serve, serve, serve, not like a slave, not like a groveling serf, not like a pack animal grinding its teeth, not mechanically or dutifully but out of love, voluntarily, freely.
Serving love – this is the correct recipe for his idea of being the servant to all. It is a more accurate way of expressing his principle of love of neighbor. He characterized this serving love more clearly by seeing it as motherly service. A mother is the personified principle of serving in the family. She is not there to rule but to serve, to nurture, to care, to support, to protect, to heal, to help, to mediate. Motherly service is perfect service of love and perfect loving service. His words became warm and affectionate whenever he came to speak of this comparison. “My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you” (Gal 4:19), he writes to the Galatians. We hear the same warm words in his Letter to the Thessalonians: “For we never used either words of flattery, as you know, or a cloak for greed, as God is witness; nor did we seek glory from men, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse taking care of her children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thess 2:5-8).
High Regard for Serving Love
[St. Paul’s] high regard for this type of love compelled him to present it with enthusiasm and eloquence. He praised it as a holy, indispensable law. “If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not [serving] love, I am nothing” (1 Cor 13:1-2). You see, “serving love” is the great principle of the great Apostle who revealed his deepest attitude to us.