Putting my younger kids to bed sometimes takes the patience of a saint! And while I am certain that by the grace of God I will one day achieve that status, I haven’t yet done so. Anyone with toddlers probably knows the drill; brushing teeth, reading one story or many, saying prayers, tucking in, going potty, getting a drink and all in a certain ritual order and probably more than once! The other night I was particularly exhausted and tried to take shortcuts to hurry up the bedtime stuff so I could crash-land myself into bed. But what’s that cliché about haste making waste? The more I tried to hurry the process the more they tried to prolong it! It was an exercise in pure frustration and after a while I threw up my hands and stormed off leaving them crying and upset and anything but nicely tucked in and settled.
While I will not be taking any mommy-of-the-year awards for this particular episode, God nevertheless used the opportunity to teach me. In my human weakness I have limits. God our father does not. I will always lose my patience when I’m pushed far enough. God our father will never lose patience with his children. I will always falter and fail but God will turn my failings into fruit. I won’t always set the best example but Jesus came and gave us the perfect example once for all.
In those moments that I felt guilt and failure God himself offered me a do-over. It is in recognizing and accepting our weaknesses and faults that we give Glory to God by our humility. I failed. I will fail again. With the help of His Grace, I will try to do better. This is the very Truth the Church has taught and offered sacramentally in the confessional since Jesus instituted it, and we affirm it every time we say the act of contrition, “…I firmly resolve with the help of your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin”.
God in His infinite mercy and endless love doesn’t merely forgive us our transgressions, though that is a priceless gift in itself, rather he renews and restores and builds us up. He transforms us through our weakness when we turn to His loving counsel. He turns an exhausted and guilt-laden mother into a creature of Joy and Love and renewed energy and strength by His Love and Mercy. He is constant in His example of being merciful to others, as well as to ourselves.
“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (MT 5:48)
I will always be an imperfect parent but He will always be guiding me perfectly.
Lord I thank you for your loving example and perfect guidance. Amen