“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2”
All four of our children went to the local Catholic high school. Each year the school choices a scriptural motto for the year, and the above was chosen for the year our youngest were Seniors and going on their Kairos: 2013.
Now the eldest of our twins has her troubles, and we were working very hard with her to help heal from them. It’s funny as an aside that I spell heel as in the phrase God is head over heels in love with us as always heals….perhaps as a reminder that God does heal.
Let me tell you a story of a time our eldest twin was in this vary dark place emotionally. Greg, my husband, our twins girls and I were at Mass as we always do, our older two sons are out of the house and go to their own church, one at the Cathedral and the other in Chicago. We were sitting with a very good family friend who had a friend of hers sitting in the pew with us all. This woman who has never been married, had children, and is not a pleasant soul and who is in her 60’s, is talking/whispering; I am at the end of our family, sitting next to this woman, and I can hear her whispering to our mutual friend about our eldest twin. Now our eldest twin is every bit an ADHD child. She has dyslexia. She was dealing with anxiety, cutting issues, high school issues. She is every bit rebellious and at the time we were, let’s just say, working on things. This woman looks at how our eldest twin is dressed; she is not dressed like a whore but she isn’t as prim or proper as our youngest twin, and decides she knows our daughter better than we do. This woman can’t stop talking about how horrible our eldest twin must be, what bad parents we are, all through Mass, well you can imagine I am a little hot. I don’t hid my feelings well but this time I am trying!!!!
After Mass I gently ask this woman if she would mind spending a minute with me I had something I wanted to talk about. The look on her face, she was very concerned, but said yes. I told her I heard every word she had said about us and our eldest twin, I told her she had no idea how hard it was for us to get our daughter to Mass, that there were things she did not know about our eldest twin and we would truly love to have her pray for us. Did she say anything like: “I had no idea! I am so sorry!”, no; she choose to be something that rhymed with witch and her response to me: Well next time I will be sure to not say what I want out loud. Really. REALLY!!!!!
Now I bring this up because this woman was sure she was in the right. She was sure that because of the “rightness” of her believe she could say anything she liked about us. She believed that our sinful, passive parenting was creating a child so sinful that she was beyond saving. She had closed her mind to any request for prayers. She looked at me as if I was the Jezebel of mothers inciting her daughter to abandon the worship of God and encourage the worship of the deities of society.
Instead we, my husband and I were deep in prayer for a child we felt we would lose. We had found her a good priest psychologist and with our own good parenting, support from the psychologist, we were helping her slowly, painfully slowly, come round.
That was also the year of their Kairos and our eldest twin did not want to go. She went under great protest and it took a day and half of the four of that intense retreat for Jesus to woo her, seduce her, have her fall in love with him.
When we went to the final Mass our daughter came to us in tears, telling us she loved us, was so happy to have us as parents, it was something we thought we would hear but not for years.
It took work. Work for us to side step all the typical parenting to raise our children as Mary would have Jesus. We choose to raise in grace.
Mary did not nag Jesus, chide even when she was terrified at losing him when he was 12. She guided him as she did at Cana in Galilee. So, when I hear others being vitriolic, passive aggressive all in the name of faith I have to step in. Never did Jesus nag, chide, yell at anyone who came to him for healing, and when we did see him “lose it”, tip tables it was when he saw people who should have known better, the sellers at the temple, were making a mockery of God.
Because of this experience and my own life experiences I live in more hope of the world because of the forgiveness I have been given, because of the healing I have received, because God is head over heals in love with us all.
If you truly want to change the world than do it with gentleness.