October 27, 2020
Weekly Reflection – If You Want to Change the World
And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
If I lead hundreds down a meaningful spiritual path but neglect my family, I am only a blind guide. If I have the gift of teaching and can command great audiences in person or on the Internet, and if I have a faith in God that can move mountains but neglect my family, I have missed the mark. What does it say if I am present every time the church doors are open, but my family is not with me? If I give great gifts to the poor and work tirelessly at a food kitchen but do not feed my family, I am nothing. If I join great protest movements, march in the streets for justice and am even arrested for my activism but neglect my family, it is for naught. If I “pray without ceasing,” while my family goes hungry, my prayers are useless. If I support social change, the right political candidates, and work for equality but do not create a stable family, it means little.
In the family, there is love. And love is patient, love is kind. The loving family does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor; it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs. A loving family does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
The family is the bedrock foundation of society and all civil and religious organizations. The family raises up the next generation and does not leave that task to others. The family stays together. The family loves one another. It is in the family that spiritual values are instilled. Parents model how to live, how to suffer, how to care, how to learn, how to work, and how to resolve conflicts. And children eventually become the caregivers for their parents. They do not leave this responsibility to the state. Families that play together pray together, and work together stay together. And society is the better for it!
And now there remain these three: church, family, and government. All are important. But the greatest of these is the loving family.
As Mother Theresa said, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.
And now get this…a loving family starts with me. Jennifer Christian, LPC, has written with wisdom that, “Family is the practice ground where we have the opportunity to learn how to love, work through conflicts, and practice virtue with one another. One thing that I have learned is that my desire for a loving family is a call to personal responsibility. We have to be careful when we hold the expectation to look like a “loving family” over the others in our family. I am called to be loving and open-hearted and let them be as they are without trying to control them. I have to let go. This is a tall order. I can only be truly loving and open-hearted through God’s work on my heart, surrendering to God’s loving presence and action within me over and over again. A loving family starts with me.”
Read more Weekly Reflections: Chaplain’s Corner