Saturday, April 5, 2014

Our Children are Made For God

In my last post, I spoke about marriage and children. Ah yes, the children. The vocation to participate in God's creative love for them extends to the "raising" of these children.

It’s hard enough to provide them with food and the needs of daily life. But our task as parents is greater than this. Each child is a person—a developing and expanding spiritual universe of understanding and love, of creativity, of searching and questioning and hunger. Their hunger is not just for bread, or for education, or for human affection. It is all these things, but—within and beyond all of this—it is a hunger for God.

How can my wife and I give them God?

The awareness that we are called to be instruments through which our children discover and experience the love of God as Father is truly overwhelming. Nevertheless, we see in the gospel that Jesus is always asking His disciples to do the impossible. After He finishes preaching to five thousand people, He tells His disciples to give them the food they need to eat for their journey home. "Feed these five thousand people!"

What do they have to give? They have seven loaves and a few fish. They have something, but it is clearly not enough.

We too have something: our own poor, selfish, struggling humanity. But there is something else we have, and—like the disciples—we keep forgetting it! We have Jesus!

My wife and I have Him in a particular way, precisely in the way that our children need to come to know Him, through the grace of the sacrament of marriage. Our marriage is the foundation for a communion of persons, and Jesus is at the center of that communion, so that we and the children can grow in the ways of self-giving love.

We need to ask for faith to recognize that He is with us as husband and wife, as father and mother, as two fragile, limited people, so that He can take us, and (yes, like the loaves) break us, and give Himself through us to our children and to everyone He entrusts to us.
Lord Jesus, give us faith to recognize Your presence in our lives every day, and increase our confidence that with You, nothing is impossible. In Your hands, may our poor humanity be transformed into the gift of Your love for each other and for our children.