St. Matthew Chapter 6 is probably my favorite of all the Gospels. Our Lord speaks very clearly to us about how we should pray to our Heavenly Father, what we should hold dear and how we should conduct ourselves in accordance with His will. I was thinking about my own children today and relating how I raised them to this Gospel. They are my most precious treasure given to me by the grace of God. The greatest responsibility I have is seeing to it that they remain faithful and live in a state of grace. The best way I can accomplish this is to live as I want them to live and allow them to see my example. Only with God's help can I do this.
When the oldest learned to walk and talk, it was a great source of amusement to watch her imitate everything we did. She would copy the calisthenics my husband did each morning, and she would bring a book to the breakfast table to "read" in imitation of Daddy absorbed in his morning paper.
The youngest has had some physical challenges with which she has coped very well. I remember the time before she was diagnosed with Marfan's Syndrome as a very painful yet beautiful time in my life. I never lost sight of the fact that God gave her to me and He could take her from me any time He pleased. Still, I was hopeful that whatever ailed her would be something we could manage and you know what? It is. She has remarkable patience and has taught me so much about how to handle disappointment. She is kind to everyone she meets, has a very creative sense of mischief, and she accepts life as it comes. When she was a baby, she would beg us to take her to church and she especially loved visiting the grotto of saints at St. Rita's.
On Wednesday, she graduated from 8th grade. She didn't light the world on fire academically but she did well enough to get into the school of her choice. What makes me most proud of her is her faith and reverence. Despite the fact that she is not allowed to play most sports, she is a bit of a tomboy. It took some coaxing to get her to wear a dress anywhere, let alone church. But when I started taking her to the Traditional Latin Mass, she realized there are times we should make a sacrifice of our own comfort to show our love for Jesus in the Eucharist and she decided, on her own, that she needed a long skirt and a pair of flat dress shoes for church on Sunday. And to my absolute delight, she now prefers the TLM over the Saturday evening vigil Mass.
Every so often, I entertain the notion that she might one day decide to dedicate her life to Jesus as a religious sister. The seed has been planted and the rest is up to God. Physically, I don't know that she could withstand the austere lifestyle of the Carmelite but there are other cloistered traditional orders whose rule would not exacerbate her condition. I think of Zelle and Louis Martin giving all five of their living daughters back to God and I can only hope to be so privileged.