Sunday, July 26, 2009

John Chrysostom: Gain of Child-rearing Exceeds Pain of Pregnancy and Labor

How great a mark of providence is this, tell me, both the command to love and the imposition of the norm for affection, and as well the provision of a reward for good upbringing? I mean, for proof that a reward is available, not only for husbands but also for wives, listen to how Scripture, in many places addresses the latter about these things, and no less the latter than the husbands. Paul, remember, after saying, "The woman was deceived and became the transgressor," went on, "But she will be saved though childbearing." Now, what he means is something like this: Are you disappointed that the first woman committed you to the pangs and labor of childbirth and a long period of gestation? Do not be troubled: you are not subjected to hardship from birth-pangs and labor to the extent of the gain you receive, if you so wish, in making the rearing of children an occasion of virtuous actions. I mean, the children being born, provided they receive proper care and are brought up to virtue by your attention, prove a basis and occasion of complete salvation for you; and in addition to your own virtuous acts you will receive a great reward for your care of them.

- John Chrysostom (around A.D. 347 to around A.D. 407), Homilies on Hannah, Homily 1, in St. John Chrysostom, Old Testament Homilies, Volume 1, pp. 72-73 (2003), Robert C. Hill translator.