Monday, December 19, 2016

Restoring Us to His Image, Part Three by Teresa Beem

I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. A woman should learn in quietness and full
submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. I Timothy 2: 9-15
For the last four generations of the women in my family, we have been confused by St. Paul. Did he just not like women? Was he a misogynist? We have wondered if the reason he never married was because he disliked females, because obviously he wanted us to shut up and not be seen. 

Therefore, Christian women dismiss this celibate Apostle because he obviously didn't understand women. He was a chauvinist bigot, right?

Yet, it is not only St. Paul who gives this same message to women. The very rock and foundation of our church, St. Peter, writes something similar.
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. I Peter 3: 1-6
Yes, I know reading this makes today's modern, liberated female furious with offense, dismissing these Apostles' words as oppressive remnants from a male-dominated world. Some jump on the idea that any literal interpretation of the text must be wrong. "That's just your personal interpretation of the text, Mrs. Beem, prove it is the right one!"

Believe me, I sympathize. I am a strong, independent, intelligent Texas women who is used to being in charge. I have always been suspicious of, if not down right offended by these patronizing passages.

Yet, Catholicism has taught me that today's feminist reading of these passages is erroneous. These great saints gave women some of our most precious, grace-filled Words of God. 

In fact, with the proper perspective, we can say that St. Paul and St. Peter revealed to women how merciful is our Father. God was always looking out for us with a special and tender understanding of our weaknesses. Look at the warning of St. Peter to husbands:

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. I Peter 3: 7
If a husband is not respectful of his wife, his prayers are hindered. Are we really attempting to humble ourselves and listen with love to the words of our Maker?

Here's why these admonitions from God need to be seen as the greatest gift for women, not to rob us of our dignity or oppress us. To fully explain, we need to return to the topic at hand. And that is how we are being restored into the image of God. 

I suggested in parts one and two that to return us to His image, saved Christians must undergo a transformation we often call sanctification. And the penances for the guilt of our first parents, given by God in the garden, still remain to restore us today. 

In the garden, Eve was deceived. Because Adam did not take authority over his kingdom, Eve fell. And though her sin was first, it was not the one for which mankind was punished. (I Cor. 15:22, Rom. 5: 17.) So God looked upon the woman with much kindness and mercy. 

While the man had to act against his nature and go out from the comfort of his parent's shelter, seek a wife, have children and take care of them--cleaving to his wife (or being faithful to her) in contradistinction, a woman's sanctification was natural. 
To the woman [the Lord] said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3: 16
Childbirth was the woman's way back to restoration to His image. 

Think of the goodness of this system for women! Eve's daughters were not thrust out of the protection of home, like her male counterpart. While the man must go out and find the courage to self give—to find ways of self sacrifice, a woman produces her own sanctification from her own body!

Wives need but to submit to their husbands and they bring forth children. And through children they will understand what self-giving and sacrificial love is. Hers is the easier, much easier, route to sanctification for she need only to do what was natural to her. 

How magnificent for God to give the woman the way of learning love from having children! In fact, the woman's sanctification was her very reward--children are the greatest blessing. 

And that is exactly what Satan has attacked. Women have been deceived into thinking that their position as a mother and wife is somehow less respected and important than a man's position. Before you young women get angry with me, please stop and think about this. 

A brilliant general expends his most vital resources, both physical and spiritual, on the enemies' points of strength. One can tell what Satan considers the most important based upon what he focuses his fiercest and most ferocious attacks. Think about what is going on in the world today with the hysterical focus on overpopulation. The environmental movement is trying to convince the nations that to save the planet we must discourage people from having children--that little feet have the largest carbon footprint.

Demons are attempting a maniacal and staggering rout of the traditional family in confusing the roles of male and female, the suppressing of offspring by contraception and abortion and euthanasia. 

With this agenda, Satan has attempted to keep women deceived ever since the Garden. Through women's lib, Satan has done something most clever, he has again made women feel they have the right to be in charge. He has betrayed them into believing they should attain the man's position of power and independence. 

The Father of Lies slowly introduced the "freedom" of a childless existence, having women fall to the lie that they will be happier if they give themselves sexually to men without any pretense of desiring marriage or conceiving with the man with whom she is having sex. 

We young women born in the sixties were told, "You don't have to be a mom! You have the right to choose a career. A child is your option, motherhood is a drudgery." Then in the seventies women were told, now that the culture had thrown off the social taboos of fornication, you can take a pill and sleep with anyone you wish. "Be smart. Don't waste your life. Get an education and job. Don't get stuck with babies."

Now in the 21st-century, babies are irresponsible. Women must get an education, and then they must sacrifice their best child-bearing years to pay off those crushing student loans and are enslaved in a system that makes them feel they have added to the planet's groaning overpopulation of they want families. Women in Japan are so shamed into believing children are irresponsible that they are treating their pets as children complete with taking them on walks in strollers in baby clothes, giving them bottles and birthdays. 

Satan has used the capitalist system and feminization to destroy the natural means for female's to learning the joy of self giving. He has turned sacrifice into a bad word, especially the sacrifices of being a wife and mother and diverted women's to believe their happiness and fulfillment will be found in fighting for their rights and achieving success in a culture of money, power and fame.
A note:
This is certainly not a criticism of those whose vocation is to be a monk or priest or nun. In fact, those whose vocation is to remain celibate are an example of God's way of learning the joy of self-sacrifice outside of having a family. They do not make their lives about watching sports or entertainment or living for personal fulfillment nor happiness. They go out and find those people that need their help. They become the bulwark for other people's families. Keep in mind, though, that their sanctification requires much more effort, for it is found only through a supernatural grace. 

God set up a wonderful way for us to learn the joy of self-sacrifice seen in the Cross. And our culture of success being achieved through fame or fortune, through pursuing happiness instead of holiness, of being ruggedly independent instead of courageously obedient to God, of always feeling good rather than giving sacrificially for others' good, is taking us down a path where we resent and reject God's most precious gift and that is to be like Him. We have fallen for Satan's trap. 

Have the courage to see past the trap. For God's future for us is eternal glory.

We will be restored to our natural selves as Kings and Queens in His Image by learning that the greatest joy in our lives resembles the cross. When we look upon Christ and His passion, we see the greatest example of love and that is the joy of suffering and self-sacrifice to the point of death. Giving all. 

When, through His grace, we learn this--we will be perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Restoring Us To His Image, Part Two by Teresa Beem

In part one, we explored Christ's command to "be perfect" as God the Father is perfect and what that really means to us as Christians today. I suggested that one way we may better obey Christ and restore us to the image of God is through finding and living the joy of self-sacrifice. For the ultimate example of how to be perfect as God is perfect was seen in the joy of Christ's offering of Himself on the Cross. If we look to the Cross, then we see that perfection isn't about keeping laws perfectly or learning perfect truth or making perfect decisions and acting perfectly. As humans we will never be able to know all and so we will make mistakes. However, what we are able to do is love like the Father... love perfectly. 

It is found in suffering for the other. For suffering helps us to understand this eternal and highest thing we call love. In fact, suffering in an act of self-giving, best exemplifies love.

And this is hard for most people to understand. Before I was a Catholic, I would have simply stared at that concept without even the slightest notion of how to understand that, for I had been raised in a culture that says love is a feeling, a tender connection between two people. I did not see love as a gift of self-sacrifice based on one's will. I never realized that perfect love was not easy to give.

While we all enjoy things like gifts, time with each other, people listening to us, the greatest gift one can ever receive is when a beloved is in need and another person gives up what they need for the beloved.

I don't mean that real love is giving your ice cream to someone. I mean the really hard stuff.

Jesus told us that the greatest love is for a man to give his life for his friend. Sometimes that is not just taking a bullet for them. Sometimes it is not about an instant death to save another--as a soldier gives his life for his country on a battlefield. Sometimes giving one's life for another means giving up your dreams, your ambitions, your rights, your energy for them--day in and day out. Sometimes we are called to be living martyrs of love.

Think of the husband whose wife has had a stroke and his days are spent in total care,

brushing her teeth, dressing her, helping her to the bathroom not for a day, but until death do they part. This sacrifice, as painful as it is, through Christ's grace, we can learn to give with joy. And that will restore us to perfection.

Think of the spouse who has been unfaithful, or is an alcoholic, or is irresponsible. While love does not mean to sacrifice so that these people can remain in their sin. It does mean that we give up what we want, what is easiest for us, in order to authentically help that person be better. True love does not enable people to be weak and sinful. True love stands by, never abandoning them, as love helps them be strong overcomers of sin.

A side note: Please understand I am not saying this saves us. This is not about justification or earning salvation. This is about restoring us to perfection--sanctification. My audience is the Christian--the one already accepting the covenant relationship of God and themselves.

The Garden of Eden

I have been thinking about this quite a bit and here's some thoughts about how this idea of perfection can be traced all the way back to the Fall of Man in the garden.

After humankind sinned, we learned to take care of ourselves first; we began to look inward and no longer enjoyed sacrifice. God knew that we would have relearn what had been natural to us--the joy of sacrifice and self-giving. And the "punishments" of God in the garden of Eden were to help us regain this knowledge of the natural joy of self-giving.

God Disciplines Man

Let's look at the Genesis story after the fall:
To the woman he [the Lord] said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Genesis 3: 16-19

In these verses, God is using His gift of creation in order to restore us back into His image. These chastisements were not simply punishments to show us who was boss. No, these were specific penances/disciplines in order to restore us to His image.

Man's sin was that he did not truly love God, nor his wife. For Adam's love for his Creator was neither obedient to the command to take authority over the earthly kingdom nor did Adam love his wife perfectly. For Adam deferred to his wife. Because she was so beautiful a creature, since she had been the crowning creation, the man abandon his wife to deal with a deception without intervening as was his job as her husband. Keep in mind that Adam was not deceived. He was being irresponsible and disobedient. He fell to cowardice.

Therefore, God had to reverse these tendencies that would now follow man through the millennia. He had to give the man courage to take responsibility and act with self-sacrifice. Therefore, God told man that he must work hard tilling the ground. He must act in order to take responsibility for his wife and family.

In order for he and his family to survive, man must act with courageous love. He could not stay within the protective confines of his mother and father, but God said men must leave his parents--go out--and make his own kingdom cleave to his one wife--take courageous, self-denying actions.

By this action of hard work and sacrificing his mind and body, by being faithful to his wife, he would be taking back the kingdom he had been given by God.

The attachment to the land, the working and striving with the soil was man's way back--his restoration--to perfection. Man's sanctification would come through responsibility for a family. (Again to re-emphasize--this isn't taking away from salvation history and redemption through the Cross, this post is describing a kind of earthy penance.)

God still uses this method for man's sanctification. And that is why Satan has attacked men in this area. Satan does not want man to take authority over his earthly kingdom. Satan wants man perpetually irresponsible and cowardly. Satan has made men weak and given them Peter Pan syndrome.

Satan has taken men from the soil and enslaved him to the little illusionary digits in his bank account. He has lost his freedom and independence and man is reduced to toiling day in and day out for another man's kingdom, thrilled to get a few dollars, rather than seeing the work of his own hands on his own land. Satan's system has long been to make men nothing more than robots, creating a system where men no longer have kingdoms. Instead of self-sacrificing courageously for his family, many men have given their souls over to strive for mammon. And that is if they are striving for anything anymore. Many men have been raised to simply see life as a place to seek entertainment and comfort--watching others work hard for heroic masculinity via sports, video games and movies rather than becoming a hero themselves. 

Men today are demeaned by the culture. They are shamed into believing they have toxic masculinity. They are told they must not take up for themselves, that they are stupid and unneeded, that their most basic instincts are unworthy and evil--even their instinct to pursue a wife and then care of her. They cannot be the hero they desire to be, for everything they need to redeem them into the men God intended them to be has been shamed and mocked and stolen from them. 

Satan wants our culture to prevent man from learning perfect love through the joy of self-sacrifice. So Satan has allowed them to give into the dark and deep abyss of their weaknesses and now western men are vain, gender ambiguous cowards who would rather be a hero in a video game gratifying their sexual needs with a cyber freak than a wife.

And this has been Satan plan all along. 

Men need to start taking back their kingdoms. Marry. Have kids. Work hard for them. Be responsible and courageous and don't allow your wife to be deceived. Be a good warrior for God by being obedient. Be a good husband by making her your queen. Be a good father by disciplining your children, teaching them courage and godliness through your example. Take authority with sacrificial love. And ask for the grace to do it with joy.

Be a king. 

That was what you were made to be. For you were created in the image of God. 

(In part three we will discuss how Satan has tried to rip away women's sanctification, the female way of attaining joy through self-sacrifice.) 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Restoring Us to His Image, Part One by Teresa Beem

Showing Us Authentic Love

Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect. Matt. 5: 48
We are in the image of God. 

Ponder that for a moment: We are in the image of God. 

That is an unthinkable thought. Incomprehensible. So we let it pass by as if it were a chalkboard of numbers and symbols Einstein had written. We might assent to the geniusness of it, but we have no idea why or how. 

However, if we prayerfully consider that we are in the image of God often enough for it to sink down into our souls, we would start discovering many humbling realities.  For the more we think about how we are made in His Image, we do not become proud. When we pray for God to reveal what that means, we actually become humbled by the fact.

If we look around, no one seems to be acting like they are in the image of God. Life is busy and noisy and confusing and we have so much to get accomplished. People seem careless, selfish and vulgar, rude and unloving.

How do we get back to the Image of God? For we must. Jesus commanded us to.
And we cannot say to ourselves, well, He covers us in His perfection—so Jesus means we are just supposed to take on His Holy Righteousness and not worry about any real change in our behavior. Except that is not what Christ said to those who chose to follow Him. He said to His disciples:

Be ye perfect... even as your Father in Heaven is... perfect.
This isn't a symbolic righteousness. That would mean the Father's righteousness is symbolic. No, Christ said that we are to be really, truly perfect just as the Father in Heaven is perfect. And Christ would not have commanded us to be something we cannot be... now--in this world. He would never have given us a task which we could not achieve with His Grace. 
There is a perfection.

Jesus didn't lie. 

What Is the Father's Perfection? 

Perfection does not come with simply keeping rules. Jesus told us that. And when you think about it---the Father's perfection cannot be about keeping rules. He's the one who makes the rules. He doesn't have to abide by them. So the essence of perfection is more than keeping laws. 

Unfolding through the ages, from Genesis to Revelation, we are given glimpses of the essence of the Father's perfection. But the very soul of His perfection was found in His Son. 

So we are to watch Jesus.

His Son was perfectly obedient through love. Through Christ we were able to see the Father's perfection.

Jesus life was total self-giving. He went about healing our sins and restoring us to health, both in our body, mind and spirit. 

And the greatest moment of Christ's perfect obedience and love was seen on the Cross.

That is a strange vision of perfect love—the persecution, suffering and death of a God/Man. This perfection is not pretty. It doesn't call us with beauty and inspiration. One wishes to look away from that perfect obedience and love. And yet, there it is always before the Christian quietly witnessing perfection.

How is this gruesome display showing us love?

Let us back up a bit to explain.

The Cross of Perfect Love

God, the Creator of time and space, the one who breathes and stars are formed, speaks and the oceans appear filled with teeming sea creatures, was under no obligation to anyone or anything when He predestined and willed the future of the cosmos. He could have chosen ten million ways of saving mankind.

He could have simply forgiven Adam and Eve when they sinned. He could have begun an evolutionary process in which those who would sin would be the weaker who would Darwinistically be eradicated by the stronger people who fought temptation--eventually bringing perfection. He could have killed Adam and Eve and started over. 

But He chose a perfect, the best way of redeeming man. For it was the way of the Alpha and Omega, He who knew the beginning and end; the one who is perfection chose from the foundation of creation to rid the world of sin by sending His Son to die for us.

But not exactly after Adam sinned. No. It took time for this mystery to unfold. It began with an animal sacrifice in the Garden of Eden. 

And it was strange to our eyes.

Why did God set up a system of bloody sacrifice and the death of innocent animals? Why need millennia of foreshadowings of such things throughout the history of man before the Jews and the time of fulfillment of the Old Covenant in the first century?

If a sacrifice of death was deemed by God as necessary to rebalance goodness, why didn't Jesus die of old age? Or perhaps of a heart attack? Why send Jesus to die on earth? Couldn't He have died in heaven surrounded by billions of angels who loved Him? Why so cruel a death on earth in front of just a handful of people? Why? It is strange…. mysterious… and worthy of our contemplation.

For aeons of eternity, as our wisdom grows, we will be rediscovering the luminous mysteries of the Cross. For there is no way to explain it fully now. And what I am about to write, in no way contradicts any orthodox understanding the Church has had through the centuries. No, it is a small little light in the firmament that adds to what is already known.

The Cross is a View of the Father's Perfection

The Cross was our glimpse into the ultimate display of love. This was not just a man showing perfect obedience to His Father through dying, this was God showing perfect obedience to God. This was the unfathomable showing us the unfathomable and through His Holy Spirit and our faith, we will be drawn to this miracle.

This is love: Jesus with His arms outstretched encompassing and destroying all our sins in His battle with life and death.

This is Perfect Love which is Perfection:

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all....Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin. Hebrews 53: 3-10 

Perfect Love: Cross of Persecution, Torture and Death

How can this be? How can Jesus being scourged by the Romans soldiers and spat upon, mocked and crucified show us love? Our culture would be revolted by this humiliation and persecution and self-giving. Many would reject this love according to our opinions and views.

The perfect love of the Father that Christ reflected at the Cross was the joy of self-sacrifice.

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12: 1, 2
To be perfect, we must find joy in self-sacrifice in obedience to God and serving others.

(Please read part two.)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

What Our Kids Need Out of Religion

Seeing Christ in Christians

I absolutely love talking with young people. I have stood on Mt. Rainier with people we have met on the trail overlooking breathtaking scenery and asked young strangers the hard questions such as, "What motivates you? Where are you in the spectrum of God and religion and why?" And I do actually ask these questions. And unlike many adults, who think I am being nosy, once these kids realize that I am not going to proselytize them, the vast majority are thrilled to answer the questions. Without an agenda, I simply listen. I truly want to know their hearts. 

One of the things I have discovered in these conversations is that young people are leaving the church in droves. Decent, honorable and intelligent youth are not accepting the faith of their fathers and mothers--not because they are being rebellious. Often these kids think very highly of their parents. Many are not angry or desiring to live a life of wickedness. It's not simply that hypocrisy has turned them off or that radical Christians are seen as judgmental and critical. It is more than that. When you dig into their hearts, you will find them often wishing they could have faith. Others sincerely believe they don't need it. 

At the core, these youth are saying the same thing: religion doesn't work. It doesn't seem to give meaning and purpose to the believer. 

Our youth do not see Christ in Christians. 

In today's culture, many Christian parents are relevant, fun and cool. They aren't judgmental nor too permissive. Christian parents may be active in their children's lives, supporting them in sports, playing video games, taking amazing vacations. But they see that same thing in many non-Christian families. So they realize that to be a happy family all that is needed is sufficient money and time for those family experiences. Therefore, why be a Christian?

What Separates Christians?

However, when the music stops, when the entertainment ceases and when problems do arise--health problems, money problems and/or moral temptations--what happens in Christian families? For Christian children often are raised in a morally weak environment where parents distract with comforts and entertainment rather than sacrifice to become wise and righteous leaders of their families.  

When the ship hits an iceberg and the party comes to a screeching halt, the passengers are not running to the entertainment director, they are running to the captain. And often in crisis Christian kids look to their parent's faith and it fails. Their faith made them the entertainment directors rather than being seen as the captain. So, the kids discover that there is nothing that separates Christians from the other families.

While there may be a little difference in the statistics for Christians when compared to the rest of society, it is about equal when we look at Americans who make money their god and savior, who look at and are even addicted to pornography. Christians fornicate, live together before marriage, take drugs, get abortions, get divorced, commit adultery and in most vices they are similar to their non-believing counterparts. To the youth of today, there is not enough of a difference between the believer than the unbeliever to make faith compelling.

If our young people cannot see the miracle of heaven in Christians, why would they believe in or seek an afterlife or have faith in a Christ who saved them to live in misery in this world? In a world that pushes the pragmatism of science and math.... religion does not add up. Faith seems illogical.

Living and Worshipping in Holiness

If we want our children in church, if we want our children to experience the love of Christ:

We don't need more cool, relevant pastors with tattoos and tongue rings who can reference current movies or cable programs.
We don't need worship services that look like rock concerts.
We do not need more entertainment or fun or cool, relevant church services. 
We don't need more entertainment or fun or cool, relevant families.
We don't need more money or pursuits of happiness in our families.
We don't need more freedom.

What we need is holiness.

For when reality hits us, we look for heroes. Our children want Christian heroes that can and do face down temptations and overcome them through Christ's grace. Christians heroes that will reach out and touch them with their wisdom, love and sacrifice. 

We, as Christian parents, need to live out our faith with such courage and sacrifice that it gives our young people hope that they can overcome sin. We need to prove that sin does not get the last word, that wickedness does not have to entrap us and enslave us. Our lives of self-giving and holiness brings the Cross to our children so they can understand the love of God. 

What is Holiness?

Holiness is not a feeling, it is His love and His grace working through us. And as we let go of sin that enslaves us, we are able not only to be a more effective conduit of His love, but we are able to absorb His love into ourselves changing our very nature into His likeness. 

And the more holy we become, we are able to humbly bring His love and healing to those in need. Our witness goes from being solo verbum or words alone--to growing into a life of powerful prayer that availeth much and actions that bring about change. Our witness of the gospel that began in our own broken spirit, arises with the strength of His grace and we begin the journey of sacrifice. That eventually matures into finding more and more joy and peace in sacrifice. 

St. Paul gives women a glimpse of this secret of a life of sacrificial joy when he says that women are saved (from sin) through motherhood. I Timothy 2: 15. 

So many women see this as a chauvinistic, works-oriented passage, but that understanding is far, far from the meaning of St. Paul. It is a wonderful promise. He is saying to women, that God has given them the simple and easiest way to understand pure joy in sacrifice--motherhood. Motherhood can make us holy through the daily tiny self-sacrifices. And that is precisely why Satan has tried to ruin motherhood and its glories by enticing women to compete with men's careers with its potential worldly glories as well as Satan giving us the current form of feminism that demeans motherhood.

It is a spiritual catastrophe that we live in a  culture where couples choose to reject raising children for monetary comforts and temporal gratification. For it is through having children we experience the very nature of God and His selfless and joyful love. 

While lifestyles that do not include children can learn joyful sacrifice, it takes much more disciplined determination and daily sacrifice found outside the home with people you may not particularly like. And often this is found only in a life vocation such as being a doctor or nurse, priest, monk or nun. In any situation, we are not called to a life of comfort and ease. And parenthood is the easiest way of living sanctification.

This necessary holiness goes beyond resisting temptation, avoiding the appearance of evil and living a moral life. Holiness is a daily journey of filling our cup with Christ's graces that we may go out and live Christ to others, giving them His love, His truths.

We become holy through worship and study, prayer and thanksgiving. Through the practice of charity we are given power and strength and wisdom to become like Him. And Christ told us that we are to be perfect, even as the Father in Heaven is perfect. We can do it and we do it through faith and love. 

In essence, Holiness is being Christ in the world. As He took up the Cross His Father gave Him and broke Himself as a holy sacrifice for others, we go and do that for others. 

When our children see in us heroic holiness, they will embrace our faith.