May 16th, 2006
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“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to
enter the Kingdom of God.” (Acts)
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as
the world gives do I give it to you.” (John)
These seemingly paradoxical readings ask a question that I‘ve
thought a lot about since Lent. How much hardship do you have to
undergo to be a Christian worthy of the name – to enjoy the
peace of Christ that the world cannot give?
For Lent, I read a book of lives of holy women throughout the ages.
Many took up lives of extreme penance against the wishes of their
families, walked out on husbands and/or children to pursue religious
callings, or died gruesome deaths (even when they had children)
for the sake of their beliefs. Very few lived the lives of conventional
married women and mothers.
I could not relate to such saints; when I became a mother, I felt
that doing the humdrum work of caring for my family was what God
most wanted me to do. No way could I imagine that essentially abandoning
my children, as some of these women did, could be a religious duty.
But this Lent I thought about that question a lot, both because
I was reading about so many women whose conception of sanctity was
worlds different than mine and because I’m taking care of
a grandchild for a couple of months. I’ve been thrust again
into that demanding world of daily child rearing and realize all
over again how hard it is to be a mother.
The Jesus I pray to and whose peace I seek must have a warm place
for ordinary people who do the ordinary work of taking care of others
well – no fanfare, no complaining. Surely He will grant his
peace to anyone who has quizzed a first grader on math facts, cleaned
up after the dog and delivered a vanload of noisy soccer players
At least I hope so! Peace, everyone.
to the writer of this reflection.
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