“Do whatever He tells you….” These are the very words Mary uses to alert the servants at the wedding party that they are to pay particular attention to Jesus and what He asks of them. She uses these words when she saw that the wine at the banquet had run out, and hoping to spare the host family embarrassment, she told Jesus to do something to help them out of their predicament. But her message doesn’t stop there. After speaking with her Son… encouraging Him to begin His public ministry, she advised the servants to listen to Jesus, she told them; “Do whatever He tells you.” With these words… this ‘command’ to her Son, she was instrumental in making sure that the Will of the Heavenly Father was done… It is just another example of how Mary, once again, gives God Her yes…her ‘Fiat.’ Because of her close bond with the Holy Spirit, and the Will of the Father, She knew that it was time for Jesus to begin His ministry here on earth, and at the prompting of the Holy Spirit she used her influence to get the ball rolling… with Jesus turning ordinary water into wine…
I think this is the same message that she has for us today. “Do whatever He tells you…” But unfortunately, so many of us have grown so accustomed to the constant droning of the world the we don’t have time for Our Dear Mother’s promptings …The fact is, most of us have grown up in a world that continually tells us that we should do whatever we want… do whatever makes us happy… A world that tells us that we should encourage our children to do whatever they want and promotes self absorption or egotism at its core. A world that leads us to believe that they have the right to do whatever they want as long as it makes them happy. Whatever that entails…and, at whatever cost... And I am beginning to see the failures with this kind of thinking.
It may sound good on paper, but it’s not Christian. It forces us to focus on ourselves and because we are so preoccupied with self.…we fail to work for God or His glory. We have taken the same leap as Lucifer…under the lure of creating happy, well adjusted children, we have created ourselves as Lord…. And in most instances the One True God is not even a part of the equation… He’s not even in the picture… and having just eaten of the spoils of this labor, I can clearly see just how flawed this thinking is. We are ruining the fields. We are casting the weeds into the wheat. We are sowing for ourselves a terrible mess that will make the burden of reaping glorious fruits, that much harder.
As a parent, I don’t know how many times I told my children I wanted them to be happy… I did this because, well, I wanted them to be happy. I bought into the psychology that we should be giving our children whatever they need to be happy. I read from the parenting books of self esteem and pride. And without realizing the damage I was doing…I encouraged them to feel so good about themselves, that they forgot about others. I was feeding them from the trough of pride and failed to balance it out with virtue.
I honestly wanted them to be happy. As a parent I wanted to see my kids happy… laughing, smiling having a good time. I wanted them to be virtuous and holy but most days, I just wanted them too be happy. But like so many others, I was wrong. I put their happiness in front of their holiness. I cut corners and I took shortcuts in certain aspects of the Faith. And I am not alone. Many of my friends are going through these same troubles. In fact, this kind of child rearing psychology has been going on for decades…
And our kids are floundering. ..we are reaping what we sowed... Many are not practicing the Faith that they were raised in. Most of them are living for the world. They are out in the secular world searching for their worth, and unfortunately many of them are finding their ‘happiness’ in the bosom of the giant beast which wishes only to devour them and rid them of their inheritance with the Lord. The secular world is an angry, lying creature that wishes to suck every bit of holiness from their souls… and it wishes to separate them from their loving Father in heaven…
Many of these same young people who are falling into the lies of the world are sad. And even though they won’t admit it… they are aching…They are searching for what the world cannot give them… they are missing God. And in their effort to be ‘happy’ they have wandered from the narrow path and are dangerously treading on the wide path of destruction… falling away from God and His goodness and grace. They have followed the beck and call of the world and all her empty promises of fortune and success. They have bought into the lie of worldly pleasures. As parents we may have even encouraged it a bit, after all they deserved to be happy, right? Isn’t that what we were always told? Isn’t that what we have always wanted for them. Perhaps we didn’t mean to, but somewhere along the line we started believing what the world told us… and in essence, we forgot our vital roles as children of Our Heavenly Father.
We have forgotten that this life isn’t about smiley faces and rainbows. This life is not to be an endless array of satisfactions and pleasures. As parents we mustn’t seek out our happiness from the world and her enticements. We will become easily distracted. We need to teach our children that they mustn’t always take the easy way out. Even if it means we have to struggle. Even if it means we have to rely completely on God. On His mercy and His grace. We must do it. We must take the narrow path.
We must strip away the lies of the evil one and lead our children on the path of righteousness and good. It will be difficult. And we will fall. Over and over again. There will be days when it seems that the whole world is awash in sin and we are alone in the struggle. Everyone else will appear to be happy and adjusted and we, well, we will be struggling against the flow. We may even lose our footings and if not for the grace of God there will be many days when we would think that surely it would be better to die than to deny ourselves and our children, the pleasures of the world for one more moment, but it is precisely at these times that we must endure and be strong. We must separate the weeds from the wheat while they are young. We must fight against the embrace of the world and all its empty promises. There is nothing for our families there.
Oftentimes, we will have to pause and pray, allowing God to remind us of who we are. What we are made for. We have to realize that it is not all sunshine and giggles. God wants better things for us. For our good. He wants for us to be holy. He will help to make us firm in the faith. Firm in the Truth of what is good. He will allow us to see what is evil, and help us avoid it. God wants holiness in all of our endeavors…even when we don’t feel happy…even when we feel like weeping and sobbing… He wants our holiness…It is that precious... that important… If we work for Him…He will pour out His mercy and His grace upon us in the difficult times…He will fill our every need…comfort our every hurt…and wash us to be new…
As a parent, I sometimes wish I could rewrite the past. But I can’t. It is done and gone. I cannot linger in those dark shadows wishing for things that will never be, but I can change the message I give to the younger ones. I can stress to them that they need to do what God wants. First and foremost, they need to make God happy. It is what we all must do… it is our calling. As Christians…it is our obligation. Many of us are going to need to change the way we think about our journey on this cold cruel world. We will need to focus our eyes on the One Who created us… purely out of His love and His goodness.
As families, we will need to put God back on the pedestal that we have used to propel our children into the world for far too long. And it is only then that we will see a change in our young people. A change in those who have fallen into the mind set of ‘I, me, my’... It will be difficult and a painful way to go… so many of us are addicted to our pride… Many will continue to cling to this false sense of ‘wordly‘ worth and they will struggle with who they really are. And unfortunately, many will feel a sense of longing for things to stay the same… comfortable roosts are hard to leave… Others may even become violent and angry… throwing insults and lies at us… Maybe even cursing the Church. There will be pain and hurt. But we have to be strong and focus on God and what He wants for us. It will be an adjustment…that is for sure… but it is the way we must go. We must do whatever He wants…
Finally, we need to understand that God wants us to be happy… Really happy... But His happiness is a happiness that is not the same empty happiness that is being peddled to us from our sinful world. And as parents, we have got to stop marketing this ‘evil’ in our own homes. We have got to train our children for the Lord. We have got to follow the example of our Dear Blessed Mother, because even though she knew that Jesus’ mission was going to pierce her heart, and bring her more pain than most of us could ever endure … When God prompted her, she joined her Will to the One Who made her and instructed Jesus to fix the wine problem at the wedding and then she called the servants over and told them, “Do whatever He tells you…” In all things. And at all times. God bless.
Our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.
And I’m so thankful that even when we fail at seeking Him, He NEVER fails at seeking us out. And even when our parents may “fail” to do their best in teaching us the importance of seeking holiness, He is always faithful and will leave the 99 to go after the one precious lost sheep.
Thank you for your words of encouragement and exhortation. May we all hear them and put them into practice in seeking our TRUE happiness: a holy life of service to our God.
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