contemplative spirituality

Parenting — Domestic Monastery

From a great little book I’m reading:

Parenting, in the end, is the most natural path to holiness and maturity, what often feels like a compulsory commitment, and takes us where we would often rather not go….

Being a mother or a father stretches the heart, just as the womb is stretched in pregnancy. This is because, among all loves, parental love is perhaps the one that most pulls your heart out of its self-love. Parenting reshapes the core of your being to help you to love more like God loves.

“The monastery is a school of love because it teaches us to forget ambition, convenience and self-gratification in order to open our hearts to love” (Michael Case). Is there an aspect of our lives where this could be truer to reality than in the everyday, domestic lives of parents with small children?

One of the first lessons this school of love teaches you is welcome: To be a parent is to have to permanently open your heart, life and plans so as to create a unique space in them for someone else, your child. To be a mother or a father is to let your dreams and agenda be forever altered…

Finally, being a parent should naturally lead you to shape your heart for reconciliation. Love is all about forgiving, again and again and again. Families survive only if this is happening. A parent is meant to be the compassion of God, the father and mother of the prodigal son and the bitter brother, who embraces the child not because the child is worthy, but in spite of all unworthiness. A parent must ever say in word and attitude, “Return as far as you can and I will come the rest of the way.”

-FromĀ Domestic Monastery by Ronald Rolheiser, pp. 63-66

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