We pray for Christian families around the world; may they embody and experience unconditional love and advance in holiness in their daily lives.
For nearly two decades, we’ve said, ‘make good choices!’ to all six of our children on a regular basis. A counselor friend of mine once noted that sometimes even good people make bad choices, but the choice doesn’t take away the worth of the person. Say, even when my tweens threw a ball in the house, minutes after I asked them not to, decapitating my Mary statue! Now that those children are growing into teenagers and young adults, the spirit of unconditional love and advancing in holiness has taken on new meaning.
We sometimes equate holiness with perfection, but I’m guessing scores of heavenly saints would argue that it was their choices—sometimes good, often bad—that led them to the heart of Jesus. Well, that and the unconditional love of people who were in their corner, lifting them up when it mattered. Just ask St. Augustine and his mother, St. Monica. As a mom of six I will add that it’s my shortcomings (like my willingness to ask for forgiveness) and mercy of my children (to offer and accept forgiveness), that pushes us all a little closer to our eternal reward. As Pope John Paul II reminds us, “to maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others.”
When the world feels heavy and our crosses almost unbearable, may families focus on the choice right in front of them, willing to be a servant to one another. That foundation of grace, mercy and love will surely give us the strength we need to advance in holiness, one imperfect choice at a time.
Kathryn Whitaker is the author of Live Big, Love Bigger, an award-winning book about living an intentional life. She's a sixth-generation Texan who was raised as an evangelical Protestant and then converted to Catholicism on the eve of her wedding. On social media and her blog, Kathryn shares her honest take on family life and living the Gospel, all while drinking Dr Pepper and cheering on the Texas Aggies. She has appeared in USA Today, EWTN, radio and TV stations around the country and is a frequent guest/sometimes host on The Catholic Channel on SiriusXM. Kathryn and her husband, Scott, live with their family in Austin, Texas.