“Can the blind lead the blind? Do they not both fall into the ditch? No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? How can you say to your brother: ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye” (Luke 6: 39-42).
Do you ever feel like the blind leading the blind? As a mother, I am sometimes at a loss for how to respond to my children in certain situations. What is the right answer I wonder? What am I supposed to say or do? Usually, there is not one right answer in these situations; it is a prudential decision, the kind that gets easier as we gain experience mothering.
But there are other times when my blindness is even more apparent. When I go to correct my child’s bad behavior, to remove the splinter from his eye, I am often confronted with the beam in my own eye. I sometimes find myself yelling at my yelling child or being impatient with my impatient one. I can see some of my own response to anger and stress reflected in their tantrums.
The task of Catholic motherhood, which is the task of raising saints while struggling to become saints ourselves, is enormous. Unbearable, really, if it weren’t for the grace of God.
With him, no task is too great. With him, we can work to correct our less virtuous habits while leading our children along the path of virtue. There is great hope in this Gospel parable, especially when paired with the second reading from St. Paul to the Corinthians, which concludes:
“But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! Therefore, my beloved … sisters, be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor 15:54-58).
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to see my own faults before the faults of others. Help me to cooperate with the grace you offer me each and every day so that I might better instruct my children and be a virtuous example to those around me. Help me see the value of self-denial for the sake of virtue, so that when I finally remove the beam in my own eye, I can better help my children remove the splinter in theirs.