Tuesday, August 27, 2013

two and a half thoughts... on parenting

Saint Monica was born of a Christian family at Tagaste in Africa in 331. She poured forth many tears and prayers to God for [her son Augustine]’s conversion. A model of the virtuous mother, she nourished the faith by her prayers and witnessed to it by her deeds. She died at Ostia in 387.
[from today’s Magnificat, Memorial for Saint Monica]

It cannot be denied that God often takes away from us all exterior aid that he may possess all our trust. Oh, if we could but give him it to the uttermost nor share one white of it with whomsoever it be, how thoroughly compensated we should be for the absence of all help deriving from creatures! And what interior freedom we should know! Indeed there is nothing plainer: the grief and excessive anxiety to which your soul is exposed at perceiving itself deprived of exterior help can come only from an intemperate attachment to those human aids.

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More often than not, when parents hear that our four adult children are all active, practicing Catholics, they immediately want to know what I / we “did” to make this happen.  I’ve even had writer friends suggest that I should write a book about parenting to help younger parents—and to encourage those couples whose adult children are not practicing the Faith.

I truly understand their desire. What they don’t realize is how inept I would be at tackling this topic.

I’m not denying that I took parenting our children very seriously, making career and personal choices that were not normal or made “sense.” I don’t deny that that as a couple we tried to make major decisions—and sometimes huge sacrifices—based on our mutual and deepest desire to pass on to them the Catholic faith we know and love.

Yet as I look back at critical moments in our family’s history, moments that shaped and defined us, I am very aware that this Faith, these values, were often nurtured in my kids not because of, but in spite of me, in spite of us and our failings as parents.

In the most difficult, heart-wrenching moments in our marriage, there was nothing for me to hang on to but the knowledge in faith that God would take care of my children and their spiritual needs because I could not. On my knees, over and over, I entrusted Him with that which is my greatest treasure: my family.

So, yes, I have been blessed with an awesome foursome—and they constantly and continually blow me away with their grounded values and lived faith. My children have always been my Grace.

I am deeply blessed.

my awesome foursome, 1994

On this feast of St Monica, remembering in my prayers all mothers--especially those who pray for their children to find and/or come home to the Faith.