Monday, September 14, 2009

What truths are outside of time??

St. Therese writes, "God favored me by awakening my intelligence very early and by imprinting the happenings of my childhood so sharply on my memory that the things I am going to write about seem as if they took place yesterday."

While I am so very grateful that God gave this gift to St. Therese as the stories of her childhood play such a strong part in the saint she became, I do not have that gift. I have nothing to fear from my memories of my childhood - large, cradle-Catholic family - no real skeletons, some really funny stories but nothing compared with St. Therese. Realizing this, I started to take a look at those things that St. Therese writes about that might be able to find a place in my home.

To be clear, we are not called to 'be' anyone but ourselves before God - we all have our own vocations with our families and should never seek to 'be just like' anyone as that would not allow God to work with us and through us. But we can see good in other families or people and pray that what we witness might also fit into God's plan for us.

Two images struck a cord with me. The first one was from the introduction where Mr. Beevers speaks of the type of family they were. He speaks quite bluntly - "Louis and Zelie Martin concerned themselves with three things and three things only - the Church, their family and their work. Suitable recreation had, of course, its place in their lives, but no time was wasted in chasing so-called pleasures. Nowadays such a life seems to many far too narrow and circumscribed. Yet a life spent serving God and performing all the duties of one's state in life is immeasurably fuller, richer, and happier than one passed in worldly activities."

But let's us be careful as we read this for what it means and what it does not - for I wouldn't want any family reading this and saying that to be holy we need to live exactly as they did. You can't and you shouldn't. However, the Martins' have one thing that we can duplicate.

They clearly knew their vocation before God and what He was asking of them, calling them to and how to fulfill that. Are we as clear? Do we pray with our spouse for a clear vision of God's vocation for our family? Do we have a plan on how to fulfill this vocation or are our days flowing from one to another without any clear path?

The other image that struck a cord with me was her description of her love and relationship with her father. I was impressed as they naturally had a relationship that studies today have determined are essential. Several studies have recently supported that a healthy, loving relationship between a daughter and father are key to that daughter's success, strong sense of self and a protection against ever getting involved in risky behaviors. Dr. Meg Meeker has written an excellent book, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters that clearly speaks of this relationship. Matt had read this book over the past year and watching him put into place much of what Dr. Meeker speaks of is a real gift to me and to our seven daughters.

Our lives in the 21st century are not the lives of the Martins' but there are some truths that are outside of any calendar - a commitment to God and to our families should be seen an essential part of those transcendent truths.

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