Fr. Zulzdorf shines light on the collect for today, which is:
O God, who have united the many nations
in confessing your name,
grant that those reborn in the font of Baptism
may be one in the faith of their hearts
and the homage of their deeds.
Fr. Z says "the many nations" is more literally translated as "a variety of peoples", diversitas gentium, and "homage of their deeds" is more literally translated as pious actions, pietas actionem.
He goes on:
When I deal with pietas I get this image, from the medieval period and heraldry of the pelican “in her piety”. There is a symbol of Christ and His Church as a pelican who, in time of famine and drought, pierces her own breast with her bill to feed her chicks from her own blood. This sort of piety harks to the sense of pietas as “duty”. This is what she must do for her young. And, in a sense, the chicks then must drink!
Perhaps you have sung the hymn by St. Thomas Aquinas (+1274) called Adoro Te devote, in which we find the words, “Pie pelicane, Iesu Domine, / me immundum munda tuo sanguine. … O dutiful pelican, Lord Jesus, cleanse me, unclean, in your blood.”
Turning now from Fr. Z's lovely post, the news in the world today is about Hilary Rosen, who divided moms who work outside the home from stay-at-home moms in her critique of Ann Romney. We can correct those comments with a glance at that stained glass window and Fr. Z's comments. Stay at home moms make as many sacrifices for their children as working moms do. Their sacrifices, because of their circumstances, are not always of the same type, but they are the same intensity. In a sense, the (mythical) sacrifice of a pelican parent is the sacrifice of any human parent who loves his or her children. We relinquish part of ourselves for the benefit of our families. And to live in imitation of Christ, that is how it should be. It is the pietas actionem, the pious action, of a Christian. Unemployed, employed, and deliberate stay-at-home parents are unified in their sacrificial love for their children.
This pious action is not the domain of a subset of parents. It extends across the diversitas gentium. It would be better, going forward, to focus on our unity, and focus in politics on the 100%, than on division based on gender, skin color, socioeconomic status, religion, and so on. Look at that pelican. It is not a victim, trapped and forced into giving its lifeblood: it is responsible for its own free choice. Like Jesus Christ. Like us.