`Father you told us once that the man grows up and matures through love.`
`It is not enough if someone loves another. He must love him more than he loves himself. A mother loves her children more than herself. She stays hungry to feed her children but feels a greater joy than them. The children are nurtured in body and their mother is nurtured spiritually. The children feel the taste of food while their mother gets spiritual joy.
A young girl before getting married can sleep late in the morning even until ten and she may like to have her milk cup brought by her mother. She doesn’t have mood for doing anything. She wants everything ready-made and like to see that everybody takes care of her. She has claims for her mother, claims for her father and seeks her own comfort. Although there is love in her nature, this doesn’t grow because she always gets help and blessing from her mother, from her father, from her brothers. But in the moment she becomes a mother she is like the engine which the more accelerated it gets the more charged it is because love works all the time. First she is disgusted when she touches something dirty and washes with fragrant soap . But then when her baby gets dirty and she must clean him up it is as if she took marmalade in her hands. She doesn’t feel disgusted anymore. Before if you woke her up she cried why you did that. But when her baby cries even if she doesn’t sleep at night, she doesn’t find it difficult, she takes care of the child and is glad. Why? Because she stops being a child. She became a mother and the time of sacrifice and love has come.
The mother reaches more love and self-sacrifice that the father, because the father doesn’t have as many opportunities to sacrifice himself. The mother bothers and troubles more with her children, but in the same time she charges herself with grace by her care for them. She gives all the time and that is why she receives all the time. The father doesn’t trouble himself so much with the children but he neither charges himself that way and for this reason his love is not like the mother’s. How many mothers come to me and ask me tearfully: `Father pray for my child!` What an agony they suffer poor creatures. But few fathers tell me: `Pray because my child took a wrong path!` Even today a mother was pushing eagerly her children – she had eight – and put them in a row – to take blessings. A father wouldn’t have done that easily. Russia was saved by means of mothers too. The embrace of the father is empty when it doesn’t have the grace of God. While the breast of a mother has milk even if she doesn’t have God. The child loves and respects his father but by the affection and tebderness of his mother his love forn his father increases.
Excerpt from Family Life – Pious Paissios the Athonite, Evanghelismos Publishing.