By: Katie Mathes
In my last post, I made the bold claim that the role of the parent is to reflect the image of God the Father. As such, parents are called to mold their children, with the grace of God, into “little Christs”. If, then, the role of the parent is to mold children into saints, the role of the child is to be “moldable.”
Allow me to use an analogy. Imagine an artist who wishes to make a fine figurine out of a mound of clay. He has an incredible capacity for creativity, skillful hands, and an eye for detail. He has a studio where he can create without any interruptions, and a small clump of clay which he can shape into his figurine. By all accounts, he has met all of the necessary requirements to create a work of art. He sits down at his bench and begins his work.
A few moments later, he stops. The clay he is working with is so dry, it crumbles under the weight of his fingers. In this state, his medium is useless. The artist attempts to add water to soften the clay, and, only after a great deal of effort, the clay is malleable enough for the artist to use.
What is the point of this story? Well, there are two.
The First Point: Be Moldable
There is a saying which goes “we pray as we live”. I love this saying specifically because it shows the fluidity of the relationship between the interior life with God, and our daily lives among His creation. So then, if we want to practice obedience to God, we should start by practicing obedience to our parents.
Our parents are the reflection, at least they are meant to be, of Our Father in Heaven. To be obedient to them, is to be obedient to the will of God. Our obedience is what makes us moldable, and obedience stems from trust, and trust from love.
The Second Point: Be Patient
I cannot tell you how many times in my life I have grown intensely impatient with God because I feel like things are moving much too slowly. I often find myself asking “why won’t You heal this wound now?”, “why won’t You make my vocation clear now?”, etc.
But remember how, in the analogy, the clay had to be nursed back to life before it could be molded. It needed to be softened and moistened before it could be shaped. This is true also for man.
God, like the artist, has the capacity within Himself to create us and shape us. But man needs to be “prepared” before he can be “molded”. God’s greatest work is that work which we cannot see, because through it He prepares us for the work which He will do that we can see. For example, we must first grow in interior humility, before we can be humble with others; we must first have interior peace before we can control our exterior rage.
In other words, before we can be anything we must be God’s.
No one exemplifies this role of the child more perfectly than Jesus, God’s own Son. Jesus was perfectly obedient, often saying He did not come to do His own will, but the will of His Father in Heaven. And, He was obedient to His mother and adoptive Father here on Earth (Luke 2:51). His relationship to His Father, one characterized by loving obedience and profound humility, is the model for all future relationships between parent and child. And as children, we are called especially to recognize our parents as the reflection of God the Father, and so practice the growth of virtues with them.