Doing the Dishes
On our trip to the houseboat a couple weeks ago the kids brought the Lord of the Rings trilogy to watch in case of rain or at night to wind down. What a treasure these books and movies are! There are so many lessons to be drawn out of them and so many truths of our faith masterfully woven in by J.R.R. Tolkien. I can’t even count how many times we have watched them. They never seem to get old.
After the recent terror attack in Nice, the police shootings, and all the sadness we read about each day in our world, one scene jumped out. All things seem to be going wrong for men and the hobbits. Evil seemed to have won the day, death and destruction were everywhere. How could they win against such hate? This is when Samwise speaks up.
Sam: It's like in the great stories Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn't want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it's only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it'll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something even if you were too small to understand why. But I think Mr. Frodo, I do understand, I know now folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there's some good in the world, Mr. Frodo, and it's worth fighting for.
It can feel that evil has won out in our own world. It can be hard at times to know how our simple lives can make a difference. It can be hard for us to explain to our children why the way they live their lives and the choices they make, right or wrong, matter. Each time we choose what is right and good, each time we are kind to a friend or a stranger, each time we put someone else’s needs before ourself, we make the world a brighter place. The graces God pours out on us through our good works is far more powerful than evil. We do make a difference in our daily lives.
I love the Morning Offering prayer. (I have included it at the end) Saying this prayer each morning reminds me to offer all my works, joys and sufferings of the day to God. Doing the dishes with love, being patient during math lessons, being humble, saying quiet prayers during times of trial; these are all small things that make a difference. In the same way, I can teach my children that treating their siblings with love, being obedient, and seeking to help in the home are ways they can make a difference in the world.
We can’t shelter our children from all the evil in the world. It is out there. However, we can give them the tools to fight it. We must instill in them a love of God. They need to know they were made to know, love and serve Him in this life and be happy with Him forever in the next. If they know that living a holy life, wherever they are, can change the world, they will not fall victim to despair.
Just a couple days ago, Peter said to me at bedtime that he wanted a “crucherfrix” over his bed like his brothers had. We had not yet given him one. The situation has been remedied and Peter is better for it. He is so sweet. Our children are little sponges and they soak up what is all around them. We need to make sure they soak up the good. Let us ask God for the grace to be good and holy parents so they can see our example. Let us ask Him for the words to remind our children that despite all the hatred and evil in the world, God’s grace is stronger. Let us ask for the perseverance to always remind them how their lives make a difference.
How can I help those that are suffering throughout the world in such horrible, unimaginable ways? How can my life make a difference? Let us start by offering our daily tasks to God. After that I can do the dishes with love and the rest will follow… JMJ
through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer You my prayers, works,
joys and sufferings
of this day for all the intentions
of Your Sacred Heart,
in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
throughout the world,
in reparation for my sins,
for the intentions of all my relatives and friends,
and in particular
for the intentions of the Holy Father.