Thursday, May 26, 2016

Seven Key Points About a Parent's Role in Educating Their Children: 'Amoris Laetitia' by Pope Francis

Today’s Treasures from “Amoris Laetitia” (259-262)
Chapter 7: Toward a Better Education of Children

  • Parents always influence the moral development of their children, for better or for worse. It follows that they should take up this essential role and carry it out consciously, enthusiastically, reasonably and appropriately. (259)
  • Only if we devote time to our children, speaking of important things with simplicity and concern, and finding healthy ways for them to spend their time, will we be able to shield them from harm. Vigilance is always necessary and neglect is never beneficial. (260)
  • Obsession, however, is not education. We cannot control every situation that a child may experience. (261)
  • If parents are obsessed with always knowing where their children are and controlling all their movements, they will seek only to dominate space. (261)
  • What is most important is the ability lovingly to help them grow in freedom, maturity, overall discipline and real autonomy. Only in this way will children come to possess the wherewithal needed to fend for themselves and to act intelligently and prudently whenever they meet with difficulties. (261)
  • The real question, then, is not where our children are physically, or whom they are with at any given time, but rather where they are existentially, where they stand in terms of their convictions, goals, desires, and dreams. (261)
  • Education includes encouraging the responsible use of freedom to face issues with good sense and intelligence. (262)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Juxtaposition of Greatness and Service: Mark 10:43-45

  • “If one wants to be great, you  must be the servant of the rest; and if one wants to be first, you must be the slave of all” (Mark 10:43-44).
  • “The Son of Man did not come to be served; he came to serve and to give his life to redeem many people” (Mark 10: 45).

The opposite of authority and hierarchy, Jesus’ ministry is about servitude to the “least of these,” the poor, the leper, the tax collector, and the oppressed and marginalized. Jesus models humble service, for he literally and figuratively gives his life away to all in love. Why, then, does the church have such a penchant for hierarchy? It opposes what Christ explicitly teaches here and throughout the gospels. The gospel is for all and in service to all; it is not to be used as a tool of power and control. While James, John, and the rest argue over power and prestige, Jesus reminds them of their true mission -- service to others. Service, then, is not found in ivory towers, lavish apartments, meetings about law and finances, or ornate assemblies of pomp and circumstance. Christian mission and “greatness” is found, instead, in the streets administering to and serving the poor and homeless, providing food and shelter to the needy, clothing the and feeding kids whose parents bought crack instead, and giving all we can to those who are bereft of everything.  Yes, we are slaves to others and give even when they don’t deserve it. After all, this models Jesus’ love that he gave on the cross for each of us.

Lord Jesus, I want to be a servant, to give myself away to those you place in front of me. Kindly grant me the grace to be a true servant husband, father, teacher, and neighbor in this world, so that when people see me they see you.  Amen.