• Sarah Raad


As children of God we are eternally HIS!

The Pharisee and the Publican

Today is School Photo Day at my children’s Primary School… What does that mean for me as the mother of those children? It means that I had one seriously stressful morning!

Sibling photos started at 7:30am today. There is a lot to get done to get children looking respectable for school first thing in the morning when suddenly half their uniform has disappeared overnight – and even more if the children are going to have their photos taken and distributed to their grandparents on both sides of the family!

I have to admit that this morning, as I was sitting in Mass with my children – close to tears from all the shouting that I had just finished doing to get those children out of the house with hair tied up, shirts tucked in and mouths wiped – it occurred to me that it is me and not them who is the real child here!

Not only, had I just finished having a mother’s tantrum – induced by significant stress at being delayed by children who were not terribly enthusiastic about another day at school – but I was desperately praying for guidance… like a child!

Please God inspire me to be a calmer mother! After all, how in Heaven’s name am I expected to teach my children that they must be calm and full of grace rather than stressed, bothered, angry and shouting if I am shouting at them in a stressed bother because we are going to be five minutes late?

There is a very very long way for me to go to become worthy of this vocation of motherhood. That much is clear!

Last Saturday, during the morning Mass, the Gospel told the story of the Tax Collector and Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14). In that story, Christ compares the prayer of the Pharisee to that of the Tax Collector. The Pharisee prayed proudly, proclaiming the good works that he had done in comparison with his perceptions of his neighbours’ actions.

Contrastingly, the Tax Collector prayed humbly. He knew that he was unworthy. “The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to Heaven; but he beat his breast and said, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner.’” (Luke 18:13).

How beautiful is that prayer – “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

Today, while I was sitting inside the Church and feeling all my sinful imperfection like a blanket over my whole soul, that prayer of that Tax Collector came to mind, and I prayed it with him today – some two thousand years after Christ first taught it to us…

Today, inside the Church, not even daring to raise my eyes to Heaven, I beat my breast and said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

And because I am a CHILD of God, whose love for me is infinite and eternal, and because I am Baptised, and Baptism is FOREVER, God will help me. He is my Father, my Dad, my Daddy.

Nothing I ever say do or think can ever erase this sacrament of Baptism from my soul… Nothing can undo this – I am God’s own CHILD.

I can never become UNBAPTISED because now that my soul has been wiped clean of Original Sin, never again will Original Sin be placed onto my soul – though sadly all manner of other sins will settle onto it throughout my sinful Earthly life. That means that though I have rejected God in my past and may in the future forget to love Him and though I am so terribly flawed that it is only through God’s own Grace that I have ANY CHANCE at all of salvation… God will help me.

And He will help me, even when I am being an IDIOT first thing in the morning because like a child I am overwhelmed with stress and cannot articulate that feeling logically in that moment of stress and fear and irrationality. Because I am His child. And He loves me.

So now, I begin again – I pray and as I pray with humility, I straighten my crown. For, after all, I am the Beloved Child of the King!

What greater glory could there ever be than that?

For with humility, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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