Thanks for passing along this message, Red - great food for thought, especially the sentence: "With that strength, you can make your husband and children instruments of God, or demons". Yikes! Do I really have that power?!? But when I think about it, I know what St. Josemaria means...It's like the old saying, "When mom is unhappy, the whole family is unhappy" - so true in our house! If I decide that I'm going to be grouchy, the entire family suffers and things fall apart. ET and I get into a terrible spiral where we don't communicate well and we begin thinking the worst of each other. The kids sense our stress and become irritable and confused. But in those moments when I'm able to be cheerful, everyone else (including me!) reaps the benefits! We communicate well, we think the best of each other, and we are able to remain peaceful and loving towards each other. I also like that St. Josemaria talks about the importance of our unique qualities...We all have such different personalities, and this is a great thing! There is not just one personality type that is suited for family life, or more generally, for the Christian life!
Kat, I love your choice of words -- "decide" to be grouchy. I am sort of convicted by that, becuase you are right, it is a choice. Sometimes, our emotions get the best of us, but that is usually short lived, it is the decision that we make in the moments that follow, to apologize and improve our attitudes or to wallow in the nasty feelings, makes all the difference to family life. We are not perfect, and we have not yet learned to love perfectly, but we can correct our faults quickly and cheerfully with humility.I think that frequent confession can be a great help in this; my heart needs to be swept clean just as often as my kitchen, and when either one is neglected too long I start to feel crummy and find myself choosing to stay grouchy, to hold onto little grudges, etc.Len and I joke about how many minutes we can be out of the confessional before we lose our patience again, but the opportunity to make a fresh start is always uplifting.
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