Mommy Mantra August 4, 2014: MT 14: 27 “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” a
Need I say more. This is for all moms with prayers that need answering, and for prayers that have been answered. For moms who need the courage to stay strong.
Tom McKay wrote of the success of the Harry Potter books in “teaching young people around the world to battle prejudice.”
But he missed so much more. Our eldest twin girl has issues she battles everyday: issues of self worth, anxiety, and others. As she was growing up reading the books, watching the movies, (what am I saying, she memorized the books and movies), there were so many positive images and attitudes than just defeating prejudice. Unless you think of the prejudice we have for ourselves. The prejudice of not feeling worthy in who we are or what we do, or how we look, think and feel.
Defeating the Dementors who come to suck the souls of the books characters was an excellent way to help teen age girls see how depression can suck out their own soul = joy of life, and leave them feeling depressed and isolated by self hatred, self harm and self abuse. Defeating those Dementors means learning to trust or relearning to trust in parents, teachers, counselors, religious, who can help them find their way back. By using an everyday version of the Patronus charm: for us it was prayer, remembering three good things about the day, three good things you, she, did that day, and three people you, she, could trust to help her, you; she began to to build a better view of herself and her world.
Than there are the positive images of intelligent likable girls like Luna and Hermione who don’t see themselves as oddities. These girls helped our daughter but can also help our teen girls, tween girls and young girls to that confidence is built not given. Luna and Hermione seek solutions, don’t wait for the boys to do it for them, work hard for goals they want to achieve.
Than there are the other major themes that help our tween/teen girls see the world, understand their issues, feelings and difficulties.
There are themes of self reliance: Bad things happen, but I can and will survive.
The book deals with larger questions of life: who am I, what is my purpose in life?
The characters wrestle with issues of responsibility: Was it my fault that such and such happened, (the death in the maze), how do I deal with strong emotions, deaths of loved ones, harm that came to loved ones because of my actions/inactions.
These are major life issues that many tweens/teens can find difficult to face, or impossible to understand; and when a beloved character faces them and does well, it gives hope and shows our children they can as well. Our girls can analyze how the characters did what things and find out what happens when things are worked out, and see a brighter future when there is success. The girls can also see that success often comes from failure, or unexpected situations, and that it is alright that there is no prefect plan.
From my Facebook time line this morning, written by a mom of teens: “When do the growing pains of your children stop hurting and stressing you?”
My response to her was: Sweetheart. I am with you. Trust. Trust in your mothering instinct. Trust in your gut. Trust in love and grace. Trust in hope. Trust in the strength of your mothering. Trust in the larger positive picture. Trust that you know when to reach out, when to hold back, when to lovingly confront.
As with all things God connects us one to the other. Earlier this week there was an incident with our eldest twinnie, and the wisdom of her sister gave me more insight into parenting. It was an “Aha” moment, a God inspired comment from someone that is directed to you, God speaking directly to you: She said it was time to put the anchor into the water. How apt that image is.
The anchor became a key Christian symbol during the period of Roman persecution. As Michael Card observes in his recent album, Soul Anchor: “The first century symbol wasn’t the cross; it was the anchor. If I’m a first century Christian and I’m hiding in the catacombs and three of my best friends have just been thrown to the lions or burned at the stake, or crucified and set ablaze as torches at one of [Emperor] Nero’s garden parties, the symbol that most encourages me in my faith is the anchor. When I see it, I’m reminded that Jesus is my anchor.” ~Christian History
Jesus calmed the seas, Peter tries to walk on the water to Jesus, Jesus tells the apostles to haul in their nets when they were sure they weren’t going to get any fish; how much like parenting situations these are. My friend has teens, but this is just as fitting for any mother of any age child. We often find ourselves in rocky, turbulent waters of life.
We try to have faith to walk out in trust onto those churning waters of troubled parenting waters. We try to stay strong, to keep our eyes on the parenting prize: having children who are what God calls them to be., but there is always that rogue wave that knocks us off our stride. we begin to sink, and find Jesus’ firm, steady hand reaching out to us.
He asks us why we have little faith? Faith in our own instincts as mothers, faith in trusting God. Faith in our judgement that when and what resources we need we will get.
Jesus doesn’t chide us for our mistakes, fears, doubts, he just asks us to cast out our net again, to try again, to keep going, keep trying. He knows that positive emotional movement forward is the best way to help turn everything around.
We are the anchors in our children’s lives. We are the secure link between the fear they have of becoming adults and the roaring need they have to be adults. We need to be stable, secure, strong and calm in the face of their uncertainty about life, who they are and how to live life.
Jesus is our anchor, our strong link, so we may be all our children need.
Always look to the big picture, the pain will lessen as long as we are anchors, anchored to Christ.
Mommy Mantra July 30, 2014: JER 15:10, 16-21, MT 13:44-46 A
Jeremiah is lamenting the birth of Israel, but there is also relief if Israel seeks out God and works to better. In the Gospel we hear a shorten version of Sunday’s Gospel. A
I see a link between the two readings. The Gospel speaks of the Kingdom of God and how wonderful it will be, so wonderful that we will want to do anything, pay anything, work in anyway for that Kingdom. A
But flip it on its head and think of it as this: Jesus loves us so much that he will do anything, preach, teach, heal; pay anything, the ultimate price of dying on the cross, and work in anyway to bring us to God, show us how much he loves us and how special we are to him. A
Jeremiah’s first verses: Woe to me, mother, that you gave me birth! A man of strife and contention to all the land! Haven’t we often said something like this at times, especially when things go wrong, when circumstances change drastically, or life “just happens”. “This is so ___________, why I am even here!” “This sucks ___________, why am I always ___________!” I hate ___________, I wish __________________, never happened!” A
In the scripture the Lord answers and says that if there was grace to be had through repentance. The Lord than says: “If you bring forth the precious without the vile, you shall be my mouthpiece.” I hear something mothering here, something that helps us with our own calling and with our role of Priest, Prophet and Queen, something that can give us perspective. A
Do we need to remove the vile to bring out the precious by:
Repenting for something: unloving acts, thoughts, words and deeds?
Ask for healing?
Working toward justice?
Finding resources that will help us learn, work, or create a better life, better health, better living?
Letting go and letting God?
Bringing in the Gospel we can see that Jesus thinks of us as that great pearl, buried treasure, and that is important; because if we stay as we see in Jeremiah: hidden in fear, sorrow, anger; we become buried, yet our great price still shines. A
Today, let’s pray that we find our great price, understand how we are the treasure Jesus will do anything to get.
Mommy Mantra July 23, 2014: But the LORD answered me,
Say not, “I am too young.” To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak. Have no fear before them, because I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD. Jeremiah Chapter 1: 7
That sounds so much like when we learn that we are going to be a mom for the first time. For one split second we say: “I am too young.” But God says “to whomever I send you”, or what ever child I send you, you shall go, become a parent; whatever God commends/what you speak will be how we love our children, raise them well is what we will do.
Have no fear before them. Don’t be afraid to be a strong mom. Because God has delivered us from the childishness of our past to our better nature as a parent.
I’ve always been confused about this passage: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me…..” Luke 9: 23. Did He, (Jesus), know he would be crucified and predict it exactly or did Luke paraphrase His words after the fact?
This is a great question for you to try a Saint Ignatius mediation technique: praying over a scripture/theological question, like the one you ask.
To help you begin let’s look at each of the Gospel writers individually:
Most scholars believe that the Gospel of Mark was written by a second-generation Christian and Mark’s material was dictated to him by St. Peter, who later compiled it into his, (Mark’s), gospel. He seems to not be from the area, because much of the geography was wrong, but that does not take away from the importance of the message.
The Gospel of Matthew was written by an witness: Matthew himself. His Gospel was written for Jewish Christians by a Jewish Christian.
The Gospel of Luke written by Luke who was an associate of St. Paul but not an eye witness. Luke was a Christian writing for Christian.
As for the Gospel of John is very interesting. Many scholars believe that the “beloved disciple” is a person who heard and followed Jesus, and the gospel of John is based heavily on the witness of this “beloved disciple.”
Traditional author and apostolic connection
Gospel of Matthew
Saint Matthew, a former tax-collector, one of the Twelve Apostles.
Gospel of Mark
Saint Mark, a disciple of Simon Peter, one of the Twelve
Gospel of Luke
Saint Luke, a companion of Saint Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles
Gospel of John
Saint John, one of the Twelve, referred to in the text as the beloved disciple
If we read the passages before verse 23 we read: “And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejectedby the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Luke 9: 21-23
Did Luke paraphrase? I don’t think that paraphrase is the right word here. As Catholics we believe that the writers of the Gospels were guided by the Holy Spirit, had the resources of the oral tradition of the knowledge of those disciples who were in a directed relationship with Jesus and had gone on before them, as well as the teaching of the early church. Seeing that each writer had a specific audience the wording difference, or paraphrasing, is the choice of the writer to make Jesus’ message clearer, not as an attempt to change the meaning.
Now for the technique. Before you begin take the time to pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit. Imagine yourself in the scene of Luke where he telling his disciples that he will die. Imagine yourself there. Imagine you asking a disciple what they think, ask Jesus himself. Take time to pray over what you experienced. Then let me know what you come up with, write me a comment, I think many would be interested by what you experience.
Mommy Mantra July 3, 2014: Feast of Saint Thomas It would be just too easy to write on doubt, but today I feel called to write about Jesus’ response: “Peace be with you.”
Oh Lord, do I wish I could react to “surprising” parenting situations like that! In all the parenting classes I have taken, and taught, over the years the basic concept is the same: gentleness rules out over an overly emotional response.
When I think about Thomas and Jesus’ interaction, Thomas was demanding to be shown like our toddlers and teens do. Thomas needed to investigate, learn for himself just like our school aged children and young adult children do.
Jesus doesn’t stand there doing the frustrated parent eye roll; he invites Thomas to quell his fears. When our toddlers run and hide behind us and venture out again, they are using us as a touchstone to help quell their fear of the big bad world. A world they don’t have the experience to understand. When our school aged children want to master a new skill they look to us for support to quell their fear of failure.
When our teens do things that try a mother’s heart, they are like they were as toddlers, reaching out from between the boundaries of behind our knees to explore a world they feel they have mastered but truly haven’t. They need us more than ever to quell their fears.
It’s too easy to say Thomas was doubting. Thomas is doing what we all must do with our faith: explore, question, investigate, understand for ourselves. Today let’s prayer to support each other as we see Thomas in ourselves and our children. Let’s strive to say to ourselves and our children: “Peace be with you”, and to hear Jesus saying it to us.
We are going to a birthday party for our Godson; it will be his first, and an exciting time for family and friends. It is a time for us to rejoice in this little boy’s life, looking back at all the milestones, not just the little boy’s but the parents as well; and with today being the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary it will be interesting for his mom to view this first year through Mary’s own experience.
Susan Netter wrote in her Facebook posting yesterday of Mary “pondering all these things in her heart”, and how parenting is hard, and we as “modern moms” ponder many things in our hearts. The Gospel this morning certainly reveals that Mary was going through experiences that we have go through or will with our own children. We see a teen age Jesus acting as teen age children do: exploring and expressing his own understanding of who he was becoming. And as older moms know and have experienced that process can be difficult, fear riddled and angering, the beginning of the letting process that is nature but not always liked by moms: seeing our children grow up, form their own response to God’s calling, and leaving the nest.
Did Mary, as she was searching for Jesus, look back on her life raising Jesus and see his milestones from infant to then and did she wonder if those memories would be her last? Did she vacillate between anger at Jesus being gone to her own doubts and worries to hope that Jesus is OK?
When Mary and Joseph stood at the Temple door looking in I don’t think they knew what as going on. It’s clear from the Gospel they didn’t, Jesus had to tell them why he was there and what he was doing. For our Godson the future is open, and the path being made. Mom and Dad are helping to forge that path, but it is our Godson who will be walking it. Like Mary and Joseph each decision whether conscientiously made or not helped shape Jesus’ journey but not the only influence, just as is true for our own children. And just as true of Mary and Joseph prayer, hope, and thoughtful guidance will be the best thing for our children