Monday, July 21, 2014
Have you been caught up in the "world", "rat race" or "society" for so long that you have lost your sense of who you are? Have you been too busy trying to keep up with what others think that you have lost the ability to think for yourself? It is easy to get caught up and lose your true "self". The key is being able to find yourself again without falling back into the pattern or confusing your true self with the image that society has made you believe you are.
We are all affected by outside forces from the moment we are born. It comes from our parents, our peer group and our teachers. They place on us labels that are used to separate us from others such as smart or pretty. These are handy to separate groups into categories, but are bad if we embrace the label and let it define us. When we identify with the label and let the label define us rather than us defining the label we fall victim to society. For example, your first grade teacher labels you as "smart", you are smart for a first grader, but if you were placed in sixth grade you would not be considered smart. But if you are holding on to your first grade label of "smart" for the rest of your life you are stagnating your growth not matter how smart you are.
By not identifying with any label placed upon you from outside, both good and bad, you cannot be affected by the label. You are neither smart nor dumb, which are relative terms, you are you. Once you accept you are not your label outside factors will have no effect on you. All you need to do to find yourself is to get below the labels.
Getting beyond the labels
As we have been labeled since birth, it is hard to get through the labels to find your true self, because labels are constantly flying on to you. If you take off work do get away from the pressure to find yourself, you are labeled as a "runner", "hippy" or a "seeker" all of which are labels. If you keep working to find yourself they will say you are a "day dreamer" or a "slacker". These are just the labels you get merely trying to find yourself. The key to finding yourself is to stop identifying with the labels. You are not your label. When you don't identify with any label you are able to get to your true self.
But are you your label? No, it is not possible. For example, they say you are clumsy. You are not clumsy, your actions at times may be clumsy but your actions are not you. You may trip once in a while but a majority of the time you are walking just fine. So you can't be labeled clumsy any more than you can be labeled one who walks. Though you do both of these actions neither can define you as a person.
So you realize that outside forces are constantly putting labels on you and that you need to not identify with the labels, but how do you find yourself? The answer is to do nothing at all. When a wood carver does his work, he does not carve the object out of the wood. He carefully removes the wood from around the object until the object appears. So he is not carving an object he is just removing the parts that don't fit to the object. The same is true with you, once you remove the labels that are encasing you, your true self will appear and shine not never before. You are no longer "smart", "pretty" or "studious" or any label that has been put on you. You may do actions that are intelligent and you may have features that other find attractive but your actions and features are not you they are merely outside things you do or characteristics you posse. The real you is indescribable and unable to be labels is a culminations of your experience and of all of your actions. To label the self is to limit the self.
The "world" will continue to put labels on you that is all they know how to do. They cannot fathom something without a label but you will be able to walk through the label which only purpose is to limit you and place you in a box. When you walk through the label and are not defined it your true self will come shining through with infinite possibly.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Having a child come home and state they have a vocation to religious life can be a blessing. It can also be terrifying depending on your perspective. While every good Catholic family feels that it is a blessing to have a priest or sister in the family, having your 'baby' be the one in the family may take some getting used to.
Every parent wants their child to be happy. We all know that following your called vocation will make you happy. Though sometime it takes time to find the vocation you are called to.
Throughout your child's life you should preach openness to vocation without pushing it. As parents we should always be open to the call of God in our life and our children's life. Pushing a vocation whether marriage or consecrated life is counterproductive, but encouraging discernment of the will of God is the best road to take.
Tips for encouraging without pushing
- Attend Mass and have your child understand what is going on from a young age.
- Have regular interactions with priests and nuns so the child knows they are normal down to earth people
- Talking about aspects of religious life, not just Sunday Mass.
- Encouraging volunteer work and serving others in a everyday life.
- Don't overly state that the child should be a priest/nun, but make it an option among many.
- God calls not you, so don't get in His way. Let the child figure it out on his/her own and come to you rather than the other way around
What to do if your child thinks they have a calling
- Attend mass and pray about the calling of God.
- Attend Adoration.
- Have them speak with or visit a religious community.
- Make sure they know the requirements to join.
- Have them be open to all options of religious life.
Having a child open to the will of God no matter the direction they choose is blessing. It means they know and trust God to work in their life and want to blossom to do His will as best they can. Encourage them to listen for the whisper of God, without pushing your own desires for them will result in happy fruitful children who live out their vocation.