As a mother, I make a lot of mistakes. It is probably what I do the most of, and am the best at.
While that may seem a negative assessment of one’s motherhood, I consider it a fair and accurate evaluation. I see it as a frame of mind that keeps me humble, honest and always trying to improve. I am far from a failure as a mom, as I am blessed with three children who still do most of what is asked of them, come to me for advice, and participate in our Catholic faith without bribery or threats. However, I know that this admittance of my weaknesses and natural tendencies to get lazy in some area of discipline and parental involvement, are in truth my strengths. In order to keep improving as a parent, I must first admit that there is always room for learning and growing in my vocation.
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor 12:10
In this Year of Faith, I am taking my attitude toward parenting and applying it to my vocation as a Christian Catholic. Over the many years of practicing my Catholic faith, I have made many mistakes. Practice, does not, as they say, always make perfect. I’ve had phases of being lazy at spiritual things, and doing the bare minimums – or less. I’ve had phases of excuse making about why I was not attending Mass regularly, was avoiding confession, and even giving up on praying. Then the pendulum would swing, and I would experience times of arrogance of faith, sure that I had overcome all earthly bonds, emerging from the confessional booth to become -- (*you’ll have to add your own super hero theme music here for effect) – Super Catholic! Scripture warns against being a lukewarm follower, as well as speaks of the dangers of self-righteousness.
To grow in skill as a parent, I have a many options. I can talk to more experienced moms about lessons they have learned in their own journeys of motherhood. I can pick up reading on proper parenting – such as magazines and books. I can hit cyberspace for advice, instruction, or just plain old fashioned camaraderie. Additionally, I can take my concerns, fears and present state of motherhood to God – seeking His grace, guidance and blessing, knowing His promise to never abandon or forsake me. Yet to make any true changes, I must first admit where I weak, so that I know what information I am looking for, what questions I need answered, and most importantly, what areas I need to change. If I am not willing or able to admit weakness, then I will not be open to accepting guidance and I will remain stuck where I am as a parent, which for me would have meant being stuck forever with a non-sleeping, tantrum throwing, unpotty-trained child (or 2)!
To grow as a Catholic, I have to my surprise, the same options. I can talk to more experienced women (or men) of faith, and learn from their spiritual journeys. I can open up the Bible,the Catechism, or any number of wonderful Catholic books available to enlighten and teach me. In addition, a plethora of wonderful magazine and newspapers are available to aid in education of the faith.
Cyberspace provides many fantastic resources for faith discovery – however, just as when someone uses it as a Pediatrician, the Internet as a Spiritual Director, requires prudence and common sense. Nevertheless, I cannot help but marvel at how God has allowed the World Wide Web, in particular social media, to bring His Church together. As we continue to experience a decline in the number of Catholics living their faith, being able to connect with those who do, will become increasingly important.
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Deut 31:6
Always, I can turn to God, seeking His grace, guidance and blessing--knowing His promise to never abandon or forsake me. If I can humble myself before God, admitting the areas of my spiritual life that are lacking, then I am open to receive the graces God has for me to fill those holes. If I am not willing or able to admit weakness, I will not be open to accept God’s loving, merciful and gentle direction and I will remain stuck where I am, which for me would mean being stuck forever as a lukewarm, tantrum throwing, untrained in my faith adult!
**Blog first appeared Catholic Moms Talk , May 2013