The readings today have a clear focus on recognizing our littleness in reference to the Almighty. We are called to be meek and humble of heart. But this call to be humble is a tricky one. Among the treasures of common (Catholic) sense is the idea that you ought not pray for humility unless you really mean it! And, in truth, it often seems that God answers this prayer with particular haste, doesn’t it?
In the past, when I prayed for humility, it’s when I have found myself feeling superior to others for one reason or another. But, lately, I find that my need for humility has more to do with my attitude towards my children.
I think I can fix them. I think that if I find the “answer,” I can prevent their meltdowns, quell their tantrums. If only I could say the right thing at the right time, their fit wouldn’t spiral out of control. If only I could get them to sleep at the right time, if only I didn’t lose my patience, if only, if only . . .
But today, Sirach tells us, “What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not,” and, I think, truer words have never been spoken about my way of looking at my children’s behavior!
I can’t stop their fits. I can’t make them calm down. I can’t make them virtuous. Certainly, how I interact with them matters, but in the end, God gave them free will. Even if I am the most virtuous mother in the world, my kids still have to make their own good choices. After all, St. Monica had to wait almost her whole life for St. Augustine to convert, right?
What God is calling me to do is to pray and to be the best mom I can be. I need to humbly give over the rest to him.
It’s hard to be humble in this way. It’s hard to admit that maybe I can’t “fix” my kids. But in submitting, perhaps there will be more room for God to work in our home.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to be the mother you are calling me to be. Help me to be humble and “to accept the things I cannot change; grant me the courage to change the things I can; and give me the wisdom to know the difference.”
Emily, this is such a great post!!! I needed this perspective of humility in relation to my kids. Thanks for sharing!