Holy Family

Holy Family

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

Good morning. “Remember, man you are dust and to dust you shall return.” This verse which is an extrapolation of Genesis 3:19 serves to remind us today to be humble in all that we do. That in all that we do, we do for God and what we do for others is that God may be glorified. The ashes we receive in the sign of a cross on our foreheads today remind us of the need for humility, the virtue that opens the door to salvation. In today’s Gospel Jesus reminds us to be humble, that we are not to be seen praying “pray to your Father in secret” or being charitable “when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing” or to be seen fasting “when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting.” One of the most important lessons to teach our children is the virtue of humility, to be aware that God is the source of whatever gifts they may possess. It is important that our children grow to appreciate the need for taking pleasure in whatever talents or gifts they may have but to always remember “but for the grace of God.” Humility is a difficult concept for children to understand as they are naturally inclined towards being boastful. They can best learn from our example. Being authentic and letting our children appreciate that even we struggle and we make mistakes is a valuable lesson for a child to learn. We should not hesitate to let our children know when we’ve made a mistake. As parents we should seize opportunities to provide examples of humility and provide opportunities to share in providing service to those less fortunate. And true humility involves appreciating fully the gifts one has been given and making the best of those gifts. The use of stories is a very useful way for children to learn about the importance of being humble. Stories such as Sarah, Plain and Tall or the The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery are wonderful ways of helping to instill in our children the importance of humility in their lives. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White was always one of our children’s favorites. In fact, it still is. We become the stories we read.

If you are concerned about the direction your children are going, look to the stories they are reading. Matthew Kelly, the well known Catholic Evangelist in The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose suggests that “the ideas we feed our mind today tend to form our lives tomorrow. …We become the stories we listen to. It doesn't matter if we get those stories from movies, music, television, newspapers, magazines, politicians, friends, or books-the stories we listen to form our lives. If you want to understand any period in history, simply ask two questions: "Who were the storytellers?" and "What story were they telling?" Winston Churchill, Francis of Assisi, Charlemagne, Napoleon, Charlie Chaplin, Adolf Hitler, Bob Dylan, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Marilyn Monroe, Nelson Mandela, and Jesus each told a story…We become the stories we listen to.” As parents the more important question should be what stories are our children listening to? What are they watching on TV? Where are they surfing on the Internet? And parents, what are they seeing us read? What are they seeing us watch? Sometimes the best way to learn something is when we don’t realize a lesson is being taught. What lesson might our children learn from us today? What’s our story? Make a great day!

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