“I Want to See.”
By Blind Beggar Bart
Imperfect Family Made Holy
Yesterday was the Feast of the Holy Family. The feast has always been an opportune time to remind us all what family is all about. It is not about dwelling on the imperfection of ones family, but more on lovingly embracing the imperfection of each family member and, in doing so, receiving graces towards the path to holiness. Paul's letter to the Colossians (Col 3:12-21) in the second reading was most enlightening: "Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him." Amen! -Struggling Christian, 12/31/2018.
Dear Struggling Christian,
Indeed! Amen! It is only through "heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience" (Col 3:12) can we "bear with one another and forgiving one another. If one has a grievance against another;" (Col 3:13) we must always remember that we are also humans capable of making mistakes, that we may not be aware of own mistakes, and that we may make mistakes in the future. But if we truly are Christians, knowing that God is always willing to forgive us EVEN IF we do not ask for it, then we must be willing to forgive as well even if the trasspasser is unaware of his or her own mistake.
What is being asked seems impossible for one who is hurting. It may not be accomplished by human effort; that is why we are in need of God. And we can start by sincerely desiring it, trusting Him, and being open to His graces. Our faith in Him will guide us what we need to do and will surely make it possible for us to do it, because with God, nothing is impossible (Lk 1:37). He will enable us to control our emotions, tame our tongue, protect us from our impulsive emotional actions, and instead be ruled by Christ's peace in our hearts (Col 3:15).
If we do not follow the path of peace, what is our alternative? Certainly, we do not wish constant strife within and around us. But we know we do not have control over others, so we detach and shield ourselves from people who hurt us. Yet, we still end up in the same situation precisely because we are in constant interaction with people. Eventually, if we ever start to think we have eliminated the cause of our stress and woes, it may simply be because we have isolated ourselves at the expense our personal growth, or may have just slowly learned how to accept the people around us, the way we should have learned from the start without having to go through all the strife and isolation.
If we follow God's great command to love Him and our neighbor, such as our family, our immediate neighbor, we bind all our efforts in perfection (Col 3:14) imperfect as we are, slowly leading our imperfect family towards holiness. But how do we begin to love? By recognizing first that God loves us, through the many blessings that He has bestowed on us. It is said, gratitude is the mother of all virtues. How can we be grateful to God (Col 3:15) if we do not recognize His blessings through others? How can we recognize His gift of life through our parents if all we see are their mistakes? How can we appreciate the many kind acts of our siblngs if all we remember is how they did not live up to your expectations? Yet by the measure we measure others, we will be measured (Lk 6:38). Do we live up to the same expectations that we expect from others in the first place? If we expect kindness from others, have we done acts of kindess to them in the first place? Truly, charity (love) begins at home...
I pray all of what I have written will not be useless, for I acknowledge that true wisdom does not come to us without God's grace. May "the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom...with gratitude..." (Col 3:16). And "If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts" (Ps 95).
Like Mary, Mother of our Lord, who kept all that had happened when the shepherds worshipped her baby Jesus in the manger, and reflecting on them in her heart, may we also reflect according to God's will all the events in our lives as we enter the new year with peace in our hearts. -BBBart, 12/31/2018, Eve of the Feast of Mary Mother of God.
If you would like to email me and hopefully find my response in this column, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org (for now) addressed to me, or go to Contact Us of this website. Links to previous articles are found below.
The Importance of Gratitude (10/10/2016)
The Scriptures are Fulfilled (1/23/2016)
A Family Prayer in the Year of Mercy (1/10/2016)
Life's Too Short (8/14/2015)
The Redundancy in Unconditional Love (3/15/2015)
Loving Submission (12/28/2014)
Are We Mere Spectators? (4/16/2014)
My Blindness (4/13/2014)
Spiritual Blindness (4/2/2014)
God Loves You! (3/16/2014)
That All May Be One in Repentance (3/7/2014)
No one Is, So Why Be Perfect? (3/2/2014)
Mature Love, (2/5/2014)
Let It Be Done According to Your Word: The Vanity of the Plans We Make (12/9/2013)
Our Struggles Within (8/9/2011)
Lovingly Correcting Others (6/18/2010)
Our Uncontrollable Lives (4/11/2010)
The Ultimate Question (4/4/2010)