Reflection for Tuesday, May 16, 2006: 5th week in Easter.
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“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” (Acts)|“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” (John)|These seemingly paradoxical readings ask a question that I‘ve thought a lot about since Lent. How much hardship do you have to undergo to be a Christian worthy of the name – to enjoy the peace of Christ that the world cannot give?|For Lent, I read a book of lives of holy women throughout the ages. Many took up lives of extreme penance against the wishes of their families, walked out on husbands and/or children to pursue religious callings, or died gruesome deaths (even when they had children) for the sake of their beliefs. Very few lived the lives of conventional married women and mothers.| I could not relate to such saints; when I became a mother, I felt that doing the humdrum work of caring for my family was what God most wanted me to do. No way could I imagine that essentially abandoning my children, as some of these women did, could be a religious duty|But this Lent I thought about that question a lot, both because I was reading about so many women whose conception of sanctity was worlds different than mine and because I’m taking care of a grandchild for a couple of months. I’ve been thrust again into that demanding world of daily child rearing and realize all over again how hard it is to be a mother. |The Jesus I pray to and whose peace I seek must have a warm place for ordinary people who do the ordinary work of taking care of others well – no fanfare, no complaining. Surely He will grant his peace to anyone who has quizzed a first grader on math facts, cleaned up after the dog and delivered a vanload of noisy soccer players to practice|At least I hope so! Peace, everyone.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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