Saint Teresa of Calcutta is a spiritual inspiration of mine. Perhaps you may have already gathered that from my recent post on the Domestic Missionary?
My daily meditations are taken from the book Jesus, The Word To Be Spoken which is a collection of prayers and meditations for every day of the year, taken from her writings.
Last night I read this one and it really struck a chord:
‘We often pray, “Let me share with you your pain; I want to be the companion of Jesus crucified,” and yet when a little spittle of an uncharitable remark or a thorn of thoughtlessness is given to us, how we forget that this is the time to share with Him his shame and pain.’
We have in this house, as I expect other families have too, been struggling recently under the weight of our children’s disobedience and disrespect.
Directions are ignored, instructions met with unjustified angry responses, outright defiance and deliberate disobedience have become increasingly common in our household.
There is a difference between realising and accepting that this is part and parcel of raising a family and actually living this day to day.
To be honest, I have found it physically and mentally draining.
There are some days where I feel as though all of my efforts for the day have been taken for granted or worse, completely rejected.
Lord, Lord, I cry, what am I doing wrong? Why are my children being so openly hostile? Why are my requests, reasonable as they are, being rejected out of hand with a side of gross defiance?
Certainly, you could argue that sin is a part of life and an ugly part of life.
And I absolutely agree, when those of our family who can make Confession have been there’s certainly a change in the atmosphere. In fact, when Master 8 is habitually grumpy, we send him into Confession, even if he’s already been recently, and that makes a huge difference.
But I’m beginning to wonder if this universal, if discouraging, aspect of family life is a way to share in the pain of Christ’s crucifixion.
Maybe I’ve lost you.
If I return to the words of Saint Teresa of Calcutta my meaning may become clearer: “when a little spittle of an uncharitable remark or a thorn of thoughtlessness is given to us, how we forget that this is the time to share with Him his shame and pain.”
If, instead of allowing myself to descend into feelings of hurt and anger, or feel as though my vocational work is underappreciated or taken for granted, I use these instances of defiant or disrespectful behaviour as a time to share and pain of Jesus crucified they can become salvific.
Instead of responding to the situation with an outraged: “How dare you speak to me like that?” I can offer instead a prayer: “Lord in this moment I choose to share your pain and shame. I offer my present suffering in union with your Cross for the salvation of souls. Help me to respond out of love and not hurt.”
Instead of falling into the tug-of-war that is arguing with over tired children about their chores I can instead pray: “Lord, thank you for giving me a share in your suffering. Thank you for dying out of love for me. Help me to love like you.”
And maybe, in doing so I can come closer to sanctifying the lot of us.
About the Author: I am a reformed perfectionist who is now a stay at home mum with five children under nine years of age. I am a qualified journalist and graphic designer with a decided creative streak, and run a hobby business called Emily Shaw Design + Write. I will attempt most craft activities and love to write about topical - and especially controversial - issues.