27 October, Tuesday – Change me or change you?

Tuesday of Week 30 in Ordinary Time

Eph 5:21-33
Lk 13:18-21

Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ

For nearly a decade, my mother seems to be having an increasingly more difficult time on a daily basis as her health declines, and especially since my father’s passing five years ago from a massive stroke. Complaining, criticizing and commanding have become her ‘go to’ ways of communicating to me and my sister. 

A few years ago, she shared with me that for years, she has felt silence from God. She says she prays often but doesn’t feel consoled. I see her watching the news when I suggest watching daily mass (her priest visits her weekly since she no longer feels up to ‘going’ to mass), EWTN, or the movie channel. To support her in her prayer life, and with her overall attitude, I have done my best to ‘help’ her. I have given her countless prayers and books. I have shared with her what my prayer life looks like. I have encouraged her to pray in the mornings and evenings. I have pointed out how she could say a rosary, or three, daily for herself, those she loves and the whole world (she has full-time help and her days consist only of taking care of her personal hygiene and walking from her bedroom to the living room, meals are brought to her, and any and everything else she wants). I want to help her to stop complaining and be grateful; to stop criticizing and be complementary; to stop commanding and be kind. I want her to be nice.  I want her to be kind. I want her to appreciate the reality of her cushioned life. I want to ‘change’ her back to the mother I remember, and not the one I see in front of me. If she would just do what I tell her to do, she would be better, because she would be more like me…

I am astounded at myself, seeing my thoughts and actions in light of this verse, be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Can you see how large and loud my pride has become in dealing with my mother? I want her to be more like me so that she will be…better. The plank in my eye is blinding me. In my superior attitude, I am a far cry from Christ. 

God is calling me to see and acknowledge Christ in my mother, and in everyone. God made my mother exactly who she is, and who she is between her and God. I do not need to interject myself into that relationship. I am called to let her be who she is. To find God in her, and to respond to all that she is with unconditional love and acceptance – as Christ responds to me. I can love her best by simply loving her at this stage in her life by allowing her to be who she is, and I can love God best by being who I am in Him. 

In ‘New Seeds of Contemplation’, Thomas Merton says,

It is true to say that for me, sanctity consists in being myself and for you, sanctity consists in being yourself, and that in the last analysis, your sanctity will never be mine and mine will never be yours, except in the communism of charity and grace.

For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self. 

Those words are powerful for me. My reverence to every person who has crossed my path over my life matters. How many have I ever truly dealt with with the reverence of Christ? How many people have I tried to change over my life by helping them be ‘better’? By ignorantly and erroneously discounting the unique combination of gifts and talents and skills and heart God put in them? God created them, and I’m basically telling God, “I’ll help You with this one, seems to be that they’re not quite ‘good enough’, God, but I can fix them.” I am the one in need of change. 

Today I will look at all people, and all of God’s creation, with reverence. I will be in AWE of His creation. I will not complain, I will not criticize, I will not command. I will be grateful that He has given me gifts and talents and a heart to grow in relationship with Him. I will give thanks and glorify Him in the way that I treat all of His creation with love and acceptance.

(Today’s Oxygen by Gina Ulicny)

Prayer: Father God, how constantly we need to be reminded of Your gifts to each individual person. We ask that you remind us to simply reverence You in them with unconditional love.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for your constant love. For the gifts of nature and all that it entails. And for the gift of so many people on our path in this life to help us love you more completely here, so that we will be with you for all eternity.

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