“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20).
I have been praying very intently for my little niece over the last few days and weeks. She was so very sick last year and is such a strong and beautiful child, she cannot fail to inspire hope wherever she goes. Because of the various things that she experienced during her first few weeks of life, my little niece has needed some extra help in picking up some new skills. And while it is nothing major, it is a beautiful reminder that we should see God for what He is, which as Saint Augustine beautifully explained… “Let us understand that God is a physician and that suffering is a medicine for salvation, not a punishment for damnation.”
Obviously, when a child is struggling with something, it can be a very difficult and challenging time for that child’s family. Most parents experience a sort of urgency – a desire – for their children to do better than they themselves have done. After all, each of us wants the best for our children, and most of us work very hard to try to help our children to achieve their very best! This does not only relate to children who have had surgeries, like my beautiful niece, but it relates to any child!
In my work as a tutor, I have often spoken with parents who worry that because they struggled academically at school that it is somehow their fault if their children also struggle.
I have been reflecting on this idea of parenting my children very much over the last few weeks. After all, we are made in the image of God, and surely He – as the eternally Perfect Parent – is the perfect example to all of us in this regard. And as if that is not enough for us, we have Our Blessed Mother – His Mother – too. And yet, what I have realised is how little I look to His example when I parent my own children…
And so, I consider all the things that cause me – in my role as a mother – to worry…
One of my biggest worries is that my children will fall behind academically or socially. Nobody wants their child to feel that they are not clever and coping, and yet so many times, children are delayed in one area of another. Just the other day, my beautiful husband told me to just write-off the rest of the year with one child who is struggling at school and start again next year. At first I laughed – but then, I thought about his words a little and I realised that he was not very far off the wisdom of Our Eternal Father or the example of Our Blessed Mother. After all, many of the things that we endure in life occur over periods of time where we simply have to sit tight and enjoy the ride as best we can. Christ Himself, had to spend the time walking to Calvary – and even before that, He spent the time growing up and preaching – before He died. Sometimes, falling behind is not behind at all. Sometimes when it feels that we are behind, we are right where we need to be, walking the road in the manner that is required of us. Sometimes, that feeling of being behind is simply doing what needs to be done in God’s own time!
Scott Hahn in his book “Hope to Die” said, “Jesus spent three years preaching and healing people in and around Judea. He spent thirty years, though, playing and working, eating and sleeping in Nazareth. During those thirty years, he wasn’t waiting to start the work of redeeming the world. He was redeeming the world. He was redeeming the world in ways we can’t even imagine, and He was doing it through the ordinary work of a carpenter, the ordinary routines of a family, the ordinary prayers of a first-century Jewish man.”
Other times I worry that my children will not grow up to be good people. I worry about this one constantly. After all, I am an extremely broken human being, trying to teach my children to become saints, when I am probably the greatest sinner in the world. The task seems impossible at times. And yet, through Grace nothing is impossible to God. After all, Saint Augustine clarified, “There is no saint without a past, no sinner without a future.” My children are my future, and for them, I work very hard to forego the sinfulness of my past! Scott Hahn in his book “Hope to Die” said, “If we stare into the darkness, our eyes will grow used to the dark, and we will see more of what the darkness hides. But the same holds true for the light. If we stare into the light, our capacity for seeing everything touched by the light grows. And the more we see how the light of Christ illuminates all of life, the more we can live our lives in accord with that light, the more we can be transformed by that light, and the more we can reflect that light.”
I often follow the works of the Venerable Fulton J Sheen, who was an American Catholic Bishop, who preached on television and later on radio programs during the 1970s and 1980s and is considered the first evangelical minister. Venerable Fulton Sheen said, “If you wish to convert anyone to the fullness of the knowledge of Our Lord and of His Mystical Body, then teach him the Rosary. One of two things will happen. Either he will stop saying the Rosary or he will get the gift of faith.”
There is something about the Rosary – something about the power of Our Heavenly Mother that we see through that Holy Prayer. It is good advice from that holy man. After all, faith is the only gift that I should worry about for my children. For we are told, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20).
Nothing will be impossible…
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.