Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Live By Example

Three teenage girls + Sunday morning Mass = several prompts to get out of bed; approaching time warning signals; several honks of the horn while in the car waiting; stepping out of the car to make "it's time to go now" shouts; and relief when they finally come out of the house and get in the car, usually with make-up bag in tow. Oh, and I can't forget to mention the annoyed looks as they slid into the back seat! But they knew a rule is a rule. While you are in my house, you go to Mass on Sunday mornings.  It's still the rule today. When my youngest is home from college on a weekend, she knows the routine.  Still pretty much the same process described above, but no annoyed glances my way any more. Over the years, I have had the girls tell me stories of friends whose parents let them make the decision whether or not to go to Mass on Sunday morning.  Sometimes the parents wouldn't even attend. How is a child supposed to learn the value of faith if it isn't valued by their parents? How is a child supposed to learn kindness when they see their father screaming at a waitress over spilled milk?  And, how is a child supposed to learn thankfulness for what they have when their mother complains of wanting more purely to "keep up with the Joneses?"  Others are continually watching to see if we live by what we preach.  So, live by example, ignore the groans, and continue on your way. 

In todays Gospel (Luke 11:42-46), Jesus lectures the Pharisees and scholars to practice what they preach:

The Lord said: "Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others. Woe to you Pharisees! You love the seat of honor in synagogues and greetings in marketplaces. Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk." Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, "Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too." And he said, "Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them."

In Volume Six, Mary (an unknown saint) asks us to pray to Our Lady to help set a good example for our children: 

"I want to tell you that when you attempt to introduce family prayer to those children who have not prayed together in the past, you may experience resistance. Expect this. Also, when you say “no” to a child who has previously been given many material things, you will get anger. It will pass. Your child will object to being forced to pray and having material things taken away. Be brave, mothers. Be strong. Do not think for a moment that your decisions should be based on the anger or resistance of your children. Make your decision, and then impose it. Your children will come around if you are firm. Pray to Our Lady to help you turn your household into another holy family that serves the Kingdom. She will hear you and she will help. Set an example of calm holiness yourself and I promise you that all will be well."

Lay apostles, don't have expectations for others that you don't have for yourself.  If you want others to be kind, be kind to others.  If you send your children to Christian schools, live a Christian life inside and outside the home.  Remember, there are many eyes watching our every move.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me the guidance and motivation to live by example.  I am so very thankful my daughters turned out loving You so much despite some of my poor choices along the way!

God bless,

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