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  • Sarah Raad

Ingratitude

I weep bitter tears for the ingratitude that I show to my mother…

Flagellation of Christ (Peter Paul Rubens)

About ten years ago, when I left my full-time job to work on my side-hustle business and turn it into a full-time business, I already had two very young children. In fact, my middle child was a newborn and his brother was one when I started to take my business very seriously.


At the time – for a variety of reasons – it was essential that I worked… So, it was not an option for me to simply stay at home with the children and care for them full-time – part of the care involved in caring for my children included working in a job that could support them financially. But despite this requirement, it was equally essential that I actually raised my children and was a mother to them at home.


When I realised that I simply could not do it all on my own (my husband worked full-time and in any case, he was like many men, and was less than comfortable being the sole-carer of infant children) I had only one other place to turn – and that was my mum!

My mother – who is the mother of eight children of her own, and had at the time, five of my siblings still living at home – would look after my boys during the hours when I worked in those early years.

Now, this might not sound like a lot of effort with hindsight – but it was!


You see, to look after my boys, my mother was required to be available to regular (and sometimes irregular) times every single week without fail. That meant she could not go out to dinner or a coffee, she could not go shopping or meet a friend, and she certainly could not take a vacation while I was working. My mother was required to cook for my children, change their nappies (and later help with toilet training them), feed them, give them water, put them to sleep for their naps, play with them, run around after them, and administer medicine to them when they were sick.


And she did this for years – without complaint – while quietly continuing to raise her own children.


And though I did my best to thank her each time she looked after my children for me, I am sure that there were many moments of careless ingratitude in my dealings with my mum! I am sure that I must have been – at times, and I hope only unwittingly – ungrateful or ignorant of the extent of her efforts… After all, I was busy and when we are busy and not contemplative it is easy to miss the details.


In recent days, I have been reflecting on my mother’s efforts from a decade ago – first with my two boys and later with my daughter – and the effort that she makes with all her grandchildren – even today. Because – like most grandmothers – she dearly loves those children and she dearly loves me, and there is really nothing that I could imagine that she would not do for them or me should we require it of her…


And the reason that I have been reflecting on my mother’s efforts, is because I wonder at the pain I must have caused her over the years through my careless ingratitude.

Saint Maria Faustina in her Diary 445 wrote of her vision of Christ being scourged prior to His Crucifixion and wrote of the pain of the ingratitude of souls being “…a torture greater than My death…”

“…And while the executioners had been scourging Him, Jesus had been silent and looking into the distance; but when those other souls I mentioned scourged Him, Jesus closed His eyes, and a soft, but most painful moan escaped from His Heart. And Jesus gave me to know in detail the gravity of the malice of these ungrateful souls: You see, this is a torture greater than My death... (Saint Maria Faustina, Diary 445).


And I think now, of my Beloved, who is inside every single human soul. And I think of how He is inside my mother’s soul. And I weep bitter tears – because when I was carelessly ungrateful with her, I was carelessly ungrateful with Him…


And what this really means, is that I held – in my worthless sinful hands – the scourge that whipped the Holy Flesh of God. And what this really means, is that I did – with my worthless little soul – great torture, greater than the agony of His Death, to God, His Majesty, King of the Universe.


And this is why I weep bitter tears for the ingratitude that I show to my mother…


This is why…


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

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