EVERYDAY STEWARDSHIP - RECOGNIZE GOD IN YOUR ORDINARY MOMENTS
Chancing the Narrow Gate
From doctors to counselors, anthropologists to schoolteachers, it seems like everyone has their own parenting style to peddle, guaranteeing it will result in a happy and well-adjusted kid.
You’ve got “gentle parenting,” predicated on respect for the child’s feelings and needs. You’ve got “attachment parenting,” based on the belief that kids need time to adjust to being outside of the womb. You’ve got “free-range parenting,” where self-sufficiency reigns supreme.
But of all the parenting approaches I’ve come across, I’ve never encountered a philosophy that rejects discipline altogether. There are lots of conflicting opinions on how best to administer that discipline, but I’ve never heard any parent or parenting “expert” worth their salt say that a mother or father should completely ignore misbehavior that threatens the well-being of the child himself.
Discipline is in our human DNA. Consider for a moment what the world would look like if it came to be filled with people who had never been taught to reflect on their life challenges. People who bristled at the suggestion of personal growth.
And yet we become this way with God. Even the most “devout” among us shy away from occasions of divine constructive criticism. We avoid confession and forego daily examinations of conscience. We keep things superficial in our prayer life, avoiding depth of heart and real intimacy with God, afraid of what He will speak to us.
But when we do this, we rob ourselves of an opportunity to rely on God’s fatherly strength, to rest in His mercy, to fill ourselves up with His goodness. We’re putting up our hands, saying: “No thanks, Father, I’m good. You can keep your discipline. You can keep your grace.”
When we do this, we are making a beeline for the “narrow gate,” sure of our own strength and ability to pass through it. All I can say is this, proceed at your own peril. Are you so sure of yourself?
— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS
Submitted Pieces and Reflections
GOSPEL MEDITATION - ENCOURAGE DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF SCRIPTURE
August 7, 2022
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us that, “Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe, to know what he ought to desire, and to know what he ought to do.” Everyone is called to work toward their salvation, which is ultimately union with God. Those who take this call seriously must embark upon a journey inward to the deepest recesses of their soul. In the adventure and wonder of that journey, we work out the details of our union with our Beloved. We cling to what we need to believe, remain firm in what we truly desire, and are guided by what we know we have to do. Once we know that our goal is to be one with our Creator, life becomes an exciting expedition to pursue that end. We make necessary preparations, follow the map, and remain on course.
Whenever we really want something, we put our entire selves into achieving it. Being fully invested in our labor, we willingly work extra hours, devote an abundance of energy and effort, and remain vigilant for beneficial opportunities that may come our way. We certainly do not passively sit by doing nothing! Such an attitude leads to laziness and the accomplishment of little. Worse yet, some look to others to do the work for them, hoping to reap the benefits of another’s efforts. Conscientiousness and diligence are the only means to success.
For the one who eagerly awaits the day when they can be fully with God, life becomes a joyous adventure indeed! Alert, ready, focused, convicted, and willing to be a servant they constantly watch and prepare themselves for meeting the Lord. Loving the journey and being in love with their Creator, their lives become joyful witnesses of love and service. They are secure in their hope, confident in their faith, and perfect in their love. Never looking for recognition or gratitude, they stand as gentle inspirations of what the Holy Spirit can do in the hearts of those who believe. Because we do not know what tomorrow will bring, we stand ready to be used as God wills and run eagerly toward Him when He comes. How much do we desire to experience the joy of salvation?