Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day: Parents And The Seeds of Goodness

We had a lovely Mother's Day.

The children cooked the dinner and prepared the dessert. As usual (with some prodding and some supervision) they displayed their remarkable competence.

Mommy (Eileen) got the Mother's Day present of her dreams: a Washington Capitals sweatshirt! Wow, those things are expensive. Thank goodness for Ebay. The shirt did a little to dispel the gloom that still lingered from last night's game seven loss to the New York Rangers in the playoffs.

My parents also made the trip out from Arlington. My own mother's health is poor, and its easier for her to come here with my father than to attempt to host our brood in their apartment. We are all grateful that she is still well enough to make the trip.

I owe my parents so much through all these many years. I have begun to realize how much I take their presence in my life for granted, and how unimaginable it is for me to be without them. As you approach the age of 50, if you are still blessed with living parents, you finally begin to realize how basic has been their companionship of your life, through many years and circumstances, even if you live far away from them.

All of us make mistakes as parents, but I think that if we pray and struggle every day to love our children, the good that we give them is what will take root and endure. We must not underestimate the power of the good, even in small things. Parents and children must not brood over failures (real or perceived), but must persevere in living this relationship that will never end.

Even children who are estranged at present may yet return. We can also hope that the lives they live now, however confused, are still mysteriously directed by the seeds of goodness that have been sown.

I like to tell this story about how my mother had a profound influence on me as a little child, probably without even realizing it. When I was four years old (that was 1967), I was with my mother and she was folding laundry and talking away about the Pope and this "Council" and the problems that came, and then this "peasant" who was also a "philosopher" who was defending the Church (she was reading Jacques Maritain's The Peasant of the Garonne). And something awoke within me that still moves me to this day: the possibility of knowing the truth.

The experience has remained with me. I awoke to the awareness of a great, wide world--a world of earth and heaven, time and eternity, a world where there were things that really mattered. I had a primitive but fundamental intuition that life was the bearer of some transcendent meaning. I think that this was the spark that began my life's work.

It just shows that its never too early to let your kids see your passion for the truth.