- How can Parents live as Marists?

Being a parent is a very difficult job. When our children at different ages place demands on us. When they are born there is a continuous stream of nappies. When they are 2 they wake up at 2 am throwing up. As young children at 5 they want our attention. Mummy! Daddy! As teenagers they want to rebel. As young adults they confuse us and maybe do things we would not do ourselves. Then parents have outwards pressures like keeping a job to pay the bills. Like cleaning and tidying the house. Like mowing the lawn or tending the garden. Finally, parents have relational issues. Will the relationship stay together? As both spouses grow, they change both mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Do our spouses grow with us? Do they accept our changes? Do they want to spend quality time that nurture an already stretched relationship?

Take a breath. We have not even gotten to the question of “being a Marist”.

As parents we need to look at the example of Saint Joseph and look at how he reacted when he became aware that Mary was pregnant. When Mary first became a parent. Joseph wanted to run away. This is a natural reaction. Joseph wanted to divorce Mary because he could not see the full reality of things. Joseph wanted to avoid the struggle. Initially, Joseph did not want to go through the shame and suffering. But something stirred in him that caused him to break out of a negative spiral of unloving and lack of knowing. God stirred in him. God spoke to him in a dream.

How does God speak to us? Does God speak to us in a dream? Or maybe, God speaks to us through the moment-to-moment events of our lives.

Joseph chose to be in the struggle. Joseph marries Mary. Joseph chose to say “yes” despite the difficulties faced. The shame a pregnant unmarried bride in first century Palestine of Jewish culture. Or today, Joseph would be called to face the nappies. The vomiting. The attention seeking. The arguing. The rebelling. The confusion. But don’t forget the fun and playing. This is how we are called to be Marist parents. Precisely in the messyness that we discover our Marist dream as parents.

But, we cannot do this alone. We need God’s help. We need God to stir in our lives. We need the wider communities help. Only through a deep rich encounter with God. Where we often choose to spend time with God that we truly live what it means to be a Marist parent. Where we regularly make time with God.

To be Marist parents means to be in relationship.
To be Marist parents means to reflect and ponder.
To be Marist parents means to live in the paradox and tensions of our lives where life does not make sense.

Just like Saint Joseph.
I never said it would be easy!

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25 November 2022

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Parents Corner

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Marist Laity Australia

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