To truly serve God's purpose, ministry has to take a very distinct second place to our families, the very people who most challenge our weak-kneed virtues, the very ones who intimately know our faults, who suffer daily from our sins, but who love us in their broken human fashion even when all the rest of the world gives us the cold shoulder. These are the ones we are charged to help into heaven. These are the ones charged with helping us.
If my public ministries are to bear fruit, I must tend my little family garden at home with the utmost dedication and humility. For it is in our families more than anywhere else that we find the face of Jesus Christ, vulnerable and unadorned. In the irritable spouse, the moody teenager, the querulous old parent, He asks us to forget success and embrace the sacrifice of Christ's pure love, again and again and again.
I'd like to share an excerpt from a wonderful little book of Lenten meditations, The Pain of Christ and the Sorrow of God, by Gerald Vann, OP, which says it all much better than I can:
Let us try then, during this Lent, to learn this lesson from our Lord's agony: the love of God's will, the sacrament of the present moment.It is not a question of feelings, of never being sad at what God sends us: we are not to try to be greater than Christ himself. It is a question of learning to see all events, even the smallest, for what they most deeply are: steps in the story of God's love for man. And if we can learn to do that, then we shall go on to play our small but important part in the unfolding of the story: we shall make all the small events of life things of value for the world as well as for ourselves, by seeing God's love in them, and so taking them lovingly from his hands and leaving the success or the failure of what we do in his hands. So we shall enter with him into that strengthening of soul which is our need in every time of stress, and that deep and lasting and unfathomable peace of soul which is the quality of all true greatness, the quality of all those who have found the meaning of life by following in the footsteps of the Prince of Peace.
Next week, I'll go a little deeper into some thoughts on married life in, "Love Notes."
God bless you!