"Nothing good ever happens after midnight." This was the standard response used with my daughters when they were in high school . . . actually still use it today when necessary! My rules were quite strict and they dramatically let me know how unfair they were, especially when their friends had 2:00am curfews. I would hear "well, such and such's mom lets her stay out past midnight!" My comeback . . . I'm not such and such's mom! If looks could kill, I would have been gone a long time ago! Little did the girls know my rules were to create structure and safety . . . a way to protect them from untold dangers lurking in the world. My rules were out of love for them. And, to provide guidance in making good decisions when I wasn't physically around. My two oldest daughters now have children of their own. After my daughter Whitney had her first child Colton, I asked her when looking back, would she have the same rules for her children. Her answer? "I'm not letting them out of the house!" As a parent, this sounds familiar, right? Well, apply this to our Heavenly Father. He has created guidelines for our protection and safety from evil. When we don't try to live within His "teachings," we tend to follow the crowd, not Him. He only wants what we want for our own children . . . to live in safety, joy, peace and loving Him. There are rules for a reason and I am doing my best not to break curfew!
Todays Gospel (Matthew 5:17-19) shows the importance of following God's guidelines:
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”
In Anne a lay apostle's book Climbing the Mountain, she asks us to dig a little deeper and see why "rules" are important:
"We must take each moral teaching and follow it all the way down to its furthest possible consequence if ignored. Church positions then make more sense and can be viewed in truth as protective in nature, as opposed to restrictive. Love of God begins with, at least, a respect for the necessity of obedience."
Lay apostles, we all face challenges every day. Jesus, through this apostolate, lovingly and thoroughly shows us how to live in closer communion with Him. Things won't change overnight. It takes practice and faith. I promise you, once you live His Words fully and to the best of your ability, things become easier. I find I forgive quicker; love more; listen better. I am peaceful and joyful (99% of the time!). I feel protected, fearless, and loved. This is what God has for us right now! So, stop fighting God's moral teachings and understand they are there to protect us. We are loved.
Thank you, Lord, for the ability to see Your rules for what they are, love and protection of Your children on earth. Continue to help me be obedient!