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Apr 05th
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Sunday, 12 July 2009 18:59
PARENTS AND THEIR CHILDREN’S VOCATION Complete freedom to follow Christ. A vocation is a great honour. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me, we read in the Gospel of today’s Mass (Matt 10:34 - 11:1). When one freely decides to follow Christ completely it takes preference over other plans: one’s father or mother, one’s boy-friend or girl-friend. God’s call comes first, and everything else has to take second place to this. Christ’s words don’t create any incompatibility between the First and Fourth Commandments, but rather highlight their mutual relationship. We should love God with all our strength, according to the vocation we have received. We should also love and respect the parents God has given us, both in theory and in practice, since we owe them so much. But love for our parents cannot take precedence over love for God. Ordinarily there will be little reason for conflict to arise, but should it ever happen, that would be the moment to recall the words of the adolescent Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem: How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house? (Luke 2:49). Jesus’ reply to Mary and Joseph, who had sought him anxiously, is a very good example for both children and parents: for children it teaches them that they shouldn’t put affection for their family before love for God, especially when Our Lord asks them to follow him with a total self-giving; for parents, it helps them see that their children belong above all to God, and that He has a right to do with them as He wishes, even though in certain circumstances it may require considerable sacrifice on their part (cf The Navarre Bible, notes to Matt 10:34-37 and Luke 2:49). It would be very sad if someone were to turn a deaf ear to God’s call so as not to upset his or her parents. And even worse would be the situation of the parents, for, as Saint Bernard says, the source of their consolation is the death of their child (St Bernard, Letters, 3, 2). It would be difficult to cause that son or daughter greater harm. To follow Our Lord properly calls for a completely unfettered detachment, a freedom of heart that is not hampered by sadness or regret, which would only lead to a half-hearted self-giving; the person concerned also needs to have the necessary autonomy to fulfil God’s will. Nothing is gained by half measures, by a decision made with a divided heart. It could happen that in some cases a life of total dedication to Our Lord is not accepted by one’s own relations: having dreamed of other plans, quite reasonable in themselves, they do not understand this new development, or maybe they do not wish to be part of the renunciation it involves. We have to take this into account and realize that fidelity to Christ, even at the cost of causing sorrow for our parents, is in the long run much better both for ourselves and for our family. In all circumstances, we have to be very firm in following our vocation, and at the same time we have to love our parents even more than before. We have to pray a lot that they come to understand that it is no ‘sacrifice’ for parents when God asks them for their children. Neither, for those whom He calls, is it a sacrifice to follow him. It is, on the contrary, an immense honour; a motive for a great and holy pride, a mark of predilection, a very special affection that God has shown at a particular time, but which has been in his mind from all eternity (J. Escrivá, The Forge, 18). It is indeed a great honour and a great blessing from God to that family. With permission from Scepter UK. Short excerpt from IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD by Francis Fernandez. Available at SinagTala or Totus Bookstore 723-4326 or at www.totusbookstore. com (info@totusbookstore .com) To subscribe or unsubscribe, please email info@defensoresfide The DEFENSORES FIDEI FOUNDATION actively spreads Ecclesial Information, Catechetical Instructions and Apologetics in pursuit of making good Catholics better Catholics. Any contribution to help this apostolate is heaven-sent and now TAX-DEDUCTIBLE (in USA). Please visit us at www.defensoresfidei .com.

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