“Thy will be done,” in its full extent, must be the guideline for the Christian life. It must regulate the day from morning to evening, the course of the year and the entire life. Only then will it be the sole concern of the Christian. All other concerns the Lord takes over. This one alone, however, remains ours as long as we live… And, sooner or later, we begin to realize this. In the childhood of the spiritual life, when we have just begun to allow ourselves to be directed by God, then we feel his guiding hand quite firmly and surely. But it doesn’t always stay that way. Whoever belongs to Christ must go the whole way with him. He must mature to adulthood: he must one day or other walk the way of the cross to Gethsemane and Golgotha.
Saint Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein, + 1942) was a German philosopher and convert from Judaism who became a Carmelite nun and was put to death at Auschwitz.
The woman in today’s Gospel (Matthew 15:21-28) persists, even when Jesus seemingly insults her. Father has said in homilies in the past that there must have been a twinkle in Jesus’ eye as he told her that food must not be taken from the children for the dogs. Jesus, as we all know now, didn’t keep with the standards of the time; he spoke to women, for one thing, in a culture that didn’t exactly hold women on a pedestal.
That woman is my inspiration this week, as I struggle with my own motherhood. There she was, fighting for her child’s well-being, even accepting the insults and in effect saying, “OK, but make my baby better.” I know mothers who are “miracle” mothers, women who had been told they would never conceive. I know mothers who struggle with their children’s health. And don’t we all struggle just with the daily tasks and the challenges of our vocation?
Saint Teresa Benedicta reminds us in her reflection above that we feel God’s hand firmly and surely in our spiritual childhood, but “it doesn’t always stay that way,” she warns us. We have to go the whole way! And the whole way includes Gethsemane and Golgotha. So where I’m at now isn’t as bad as it will be…or it’s way better than it could be. I guess it depends if I’m in a half-empty or a half-full frame of mind…