And living that experience of virtue, practicing our faith, is catching – it is contagious!
My children started catching the school bus this year and as it is the first time that they have caught public transport alone and on a regular basis, it has been quite an adjustment for our whole family.
When their father and I decided that we would change schools this year, the school bus was a very big worry for all of us. After all, we worried about leaving our children out in the world without us for the very first time, and at the same time we were conscious of the thousands of Australian children who catch school buses daily.
So, what did we do? Well, we practised catching buses. We walked to the bus stop. We double (and triple) checked the timetables. We practised waiting for buses… And then – on the very first day of school, the children caught one! And then another. And another. And another… They simply got on the school bus and went to school. Then they came home on another school bus. Then they went back again the next day. And they repeated this again. And again. And again.
And then, other people started noticing. Really it was just a few of their cousins who realised what was going on, but soon those children were asking their parents to let them catch the school bus too! And soon, they too were catching their own school bus to their own school.
And I have been reflecting on this school bus-catching as I have been reflecting on God and the virtues over the last few days and weeks as we settle into our new school routine.
You see, my children catching the school bus each day is like God allowing us to have free will. It is a very healthy and useful gift for us if only we chose to use it wisely and in the way that He desires. After all, God allows us to practice our independence, and this means that we can feel empowered as though we too are like God, even though all of our power COMES from God and that empowerment that we feel is really so limited!
You see, just as my children catch a school bus that contains ONLY school children, and just as they travel DIRECTLY from my supervision to that of the school bus driver to that of their teacher, so too do we live – freely – under our Eternal Father’s watchful and loving gaze.
And because we are so well protected, we do not even realise that we have nothing of which to be afraid. After all, we are literally carried in a spiritual school bus from our mother’s womb into our Eternal Father’s arms. All we need to do to ensure that we are as an arrow shot out of the womb of our mother straight into the Eternally loving arms of God is to receive the sacraments and practice the virtues.
And living that experience of virtue, practicing our faith, is catching – it is contagious! You see, just as their cousins looked at what my children were doing on the school bus, and wished to imitate their example on the school bus, so too do the virtuous lead the way on the path to redemption for the rest of us.
And bearing this truth in mind, I look to the virtuous – and I look to the Saints – for they were on that school bus long before me, and they know how to lead me all the way HOME…
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.