Salvation thru childbirth (I Timothy 2:15)

What is the Catholic understanding of the passage, “But women will be saved through childbearing - if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety” (I Timothy 2:15). I looked in the Catechism under Childbearing and it refferred me to Parenting, but there was nothing specific there about this passage.

As a convert to Catholicism (from the Evangelical church), this passage intrigues me, as it seems to suggest that there is something women can do to assist in their salvation (in addition to trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior). I’d appreciate help w/ this. Thanks - Kate

Hi Kate1015 –

The Jerome Biblical Commentary says this:

“The bearing of children in pain is presented as punishment in Gen. 3:16. Paul sees it here as a means of salvation. He probably has in mind the false teachers, who forbade marriage (1 Tim. 4:3)”

You will find that the Catholic Church has beautiful teachings about suffering and contributing to our own salvation through works. Some scriptural references:

James 2:14-17
What does if profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. (Continue reading through verse 26) "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.

Phillipians 2:12-13
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Romans 2:8-9
For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.

Colossians 1:24
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, the Church.

1 Corinthians 1:5
For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort, too.

You might want to do a thread search on “redemptive suffering” – there have already been a lot of great things shared on this subject.

Welcome to the family!

The Catholic concept is that works have a part in our salvation:

4] Or do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
5] But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
6] For he will render to every man according to his works:
7] to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;
8] but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.

but God gives us the grace to do those works. (eph 3:20-21)

20] Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, 21] to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

This of course is only at work for the Christian, i.e. the one who is a new creation in Christ.
Therefore our participation in our salvation is much like the parent giving the child a buck to put in the collection basket. Children are a blessings. The pain of having them for a woman can be redemptive. Our sufferings have value when offered up in union with Christ’s suffering on the Cross. He gives us the grace to endure them. Also the blessings of children are in the joys they give us but also in the trials. I heard it said once that our children are our greatest opportunity to live the beatitudes, feed the hungry, care for the sick, clothe the naked, etc. (hopefully not visit the imprisoned). They are our opportunity to let God’s grace work in our lives. They teach us virtues such as patience (when their scrapping with eachother or asking silly questions) and humility when we have to change a stinky diaper or like last night in my house clean up puke. All of this is by God’s design and is meant for our sanctification and our strengthening against sin (virtue counteracts vice). Works are our excercise plan for our spiritual bodies like the Mass and in particular the Eucharist is our food for the journey through the desert of life.

Hope that helps.

Blessings

We are brought to salvation (perfection) through all the events of our lives. For women, one such event may be childbirth.

What does a true mother do but live for the benefit of her children? The amount of self-sacrifice that pregnancy, childbirth, and rearing requires refines our souls and teaches us the holiness of self-giving. Christ gave his life over to all of us–mothers give themselves to their children.

Besides…there have been days in my mothering that I’m sure have shortened the stay in Purgatory I deserve!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Thanks so much for your thoughtful replies. Kate

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