As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Thursday, August 22, 2013


My ten-month-old loves hair.  Whenever I (or anyone else) pick her up, she is always reaching for their hair. And if the other person is a baby of the same age, and that baby happens to have a lot of hair, look out!  She'll make a beeline for it (and probably freak out the other baby in the process!)  It is especially noticeable to me when I'm nursing her.  She immediately reaches up, takes a handful, and strokes it until she falls asleep.

A friend of mine mentioned a reflection she read recently about how baby Jesus is always clinging to Mary's veil in holy images, and it made me think of the way babies reach so instinctively to that which brings them comfort.  That is what I want for my kids.  That as they grow older, the Lord will be that comfort, that anchor they instinctively reach for. 

As I was writing this, as is often the case, my littlest ones began acting up. Being at the computer, it seems, is a recipe for disaster. They choose that moment to be needy,whiny, fighting, or get into something while I'm not watching. And I, being so focused on something else, am quick to snap.  It is especially convicting when it happens while I'm trying to write a post about family life, how great it is, what the Lord is teaching me.  I have my hard days, and I have my weaknesses, and the Lord doesn't leave me there.  He challenges me to grow beyond them. 

And so, I snapped at my dear little one, who has been whiny since he woke up (what was I thinking trying to write something while he was in such a mood?) I started, as so often happens, into the downward spiral of yelling and gritting my teeth.  The more he cried, the angrier I got.  Why can't you just stop crying? I said, as if he can make any more sense of his emotions than I can.  And I remembered that imagery, that even Jesus clings to His mother.  And I looked my crying boy in the eye, and in a moment of desperation reached for Mary's veil.  I began saying the words of the Hail Mary aloud, and immediately my boy was quiet.  He looked deep in my eyes and peace was restored, not through my own efforts, but through Mary, the vessel of peace pointing my way to her son.  Christ was indeed in this moment, as He is in every moment.  When I have trouble finding Him, may I rely on His blessed mother to point the way.

Jesus, teach me to cling to your mother as you did for comfort, and that in doing so visibly and often, may my children learn to do the same.

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