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Have you ever seen “The Secret” or read the book?
In it, there’s a phrase about Mother Teresa.
One of the men being interviewed quoted her – he said something like, “Mother Teresa would never go to an anti-war rally – but, she said, if you have a peace rally, invite me, I’ll be there.”
The person being interviewed was trying to make a point:
the point was that we need to focus on what we want, not what we don’t want or don’t have.
In our current world, we are being constantly warned about what we should NOT DO and where we should not go.
However, in the spirit of “The Secret”, maybe we really need to be reminded
about where we should be
and what we should be doing.
Yes, we hear, “stay home” but that statement seems to resonate an overwhelming awareness of all the things we can’t do because we need to stay home.
A very important choice
Pope Francis, in response to our current crisis, recently blessed the world with a special prayer.
During that prayer he addressed all people and spoke these words:
“Lord, you are calling to us, calling us to faith. Which is not so much believing that you exist, but coming to you and trusting in you. This Lent your call reverberates urgently: “Be converted!”, “Return to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12). You are calling on us to seize this time of trial as a time of choosing. It is not the time of your judgement, but of our judgement: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others.”
Healthy relationships are essential
The words of Pope Francis were powerful yet comforting.
I listened to them at the edge of my seat.
I read and re-read the message he gave that day.
But his words are not the only words that have been on my mind and heart lately.
The words of another Pope, spoken 24 years ago; also echo during this time.
Pope John Paul II (now Saint John Paul the Great) spoke these words during a homily in Australia in 1986.
” . . . healthy relationships in marriage and the family are of the greatest importance in the development and well-being of the human person. . . As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.”
(read the whole homily here: Vatican.va
Saint John Paul II asserted that a healthy marriage and healthy family life are essential to the human person.
Presently, we are reminded that we should be practicing “social distancing” many times a day.
We are assured that staying away from people outside our home is for our own good and for the good of others.
But, something else is for our good here too . . .
the attention and time we are being given to focus on our family.
We are being given time to focus on our most intimate relationships: our relationship with God; our spouse and our children.
Not only did Pope John Paul II turn our attention to our families in recent times, but so did Mother Teresa.
Several popular quotes used in our culture by her affirm how much she spoke of the need to nurture our families.
David Scott wrote a fantastic article for the Catholic Exchange he titled:
Mother Teresa’s Little Way. Here is an excerpt that stresses how important it is for us to focus our attentions back towards our family:
“It is easy to love the people far away,” she would say. “It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home, for this is where our love for each other must start.”
She sent us all home to learn how to love again. Long before anybody else had begun warning about the disintegration of the traditional family, Mother Teresa was telling us that our families were dying:
The world today is upside down, and is suffering so much, because there is so very little love in the homes and in family life. We have not time for our children, we have not time for each other; there is not time to enjoy each other.
That was her diagnosis — God’s diagnosis, if we believe she was a special rider carrying a message to our day and age.
So back to Pope Francis’ words:
It is not the time of your judgement, but of our judgement: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not.
I strongly feel God is calling all of us to choose our family.
Our families matter.
Our families are necessary.
We are being called to choose:
- Family over streaming another television series.
- Family over scrolling on my phone for hours and hours.
- Family over “self-care” to a point.
- Eating dinner as a family even though it’s loud and crazy and requires lots of persistent correction.
Let’s choose reading together, walking together, playing together and praying together.
Will we choose our families over all the other choices our way of life has made so convenient and numerous?
How much of what we are used to doing is truly essential for our well being and our souls?
It is definitely time to eat dinner as a family.
It’s time to choose a walk over another Zoom session.
Will we choose more time for our children? Our spouses?
Perhaps that is the reminder we need – not so much to stay away from others, but to move closer to those we should be most close to in the first place.
Did you scroll to the bottom? Here’s the secret – it’s not about what we can’t do or what we are not allowed to do . . .
it’s more about the opportunity to embrace what we get to do.
Here’s some help!