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, May 22, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Like a Child

"Let all the earth cry out to God with joy!" That's the psalm for this weekend.  The kids and I just finished talking about it, and how every day, every moment contains with it the possibility for joy.  Particularly during Easter, the Church turns us towards joy - the joy of the risen Christ, the joy that all the sufferings and trials we endure are not in vain.  It is not a false or fabricated joy, built on its own reasoning and doomed to crumble under the weight of its own inadequacy.  This is what happens when, as St. John of the Cross says, we caught so caught up in the method of our devotions that we loose sight of the reason for devotion itself - that deep, passionate, personal relationship with Christ.  The one that realizes joy is more than a feeling of elation, that joy can exist simultaneously with fear, that joy in fact gives us what we need to weather any kind of suffering.  It is hope and trust that sees us through the most difficult parts of our journey.

Looking back on this week's throwback post, I am reminded at how simple this really is by looking at my kids.  Since returning from the spiritual exercises I attended almost two weeks ago, I really have been trying to keep before me how personal my relationship with Christ must be.  When I think of my children and how they love me, I realize that the more deeply I am attuned to Christ, the more present that joy will be.  As I strive to let my gaze be ever more directed towards Him, I am encouraged by looking at the littlest of little ones, and the love they have for their parents.  May my love for the Lord grow to be as impassioned, centered and yes, joyful, as the gaze of babies on their mothers.


Like a Child
First published May 20, 2008

It sounds so cliche to say that I've learned so much from my children, but I guess the reason something becomes a cliche is because it's so true. And for me, what my kids teach me about most is what my relationship with God should be like. Being a parent, I now understand so much more deeply how my relationship with God should miror the parent-child relationship that I have with my kids, but of course with the roles reversed.

This weekend I was playing with my 8-month-old son Stephen, tickling him and making him laugh deep belly laughs. I of course was laughing just as hard as he was, and said "oh Stephen, you have no idea how much I love you!" Except as I took in the look on his face, I realized that he did know how much I love him, and that was why he was so happy. I thought about my older children, who like anyone else need their parents less and less as they grow into themselves. Then I thought about my baby, whose greatest desire is to be with me. Who can be inconsolable with anyone else, yet calm right down as soon as he's with me. Who doesn't need to be entertained, or bought, or given gifts - he just needs to be with me and that's enough for him. And I realized then what it means to be like a child before God. To need and desire Him above anything else. And I realized that I still have such a long way to go.

I imagine that's what heaven is like - God playing with us, giving us such joy, and we looking back at Him reflecting that same joy, not needing anything or anyone else. As we grow into our own persons, like my toddler and preschooler, we become more independent - and therefore seemingly less dependent on God. But having a baby in my life shows me what I have to strive for - that perfect relationship with God that will reach its perfection in heaven.

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