No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)



Gifts come in all sizes and shapes, and in the spiritual life can come in the most unexpected of ways. 

Perhaps one of our Father’s greatest gifts is the small, poignant insights He gives into our parents’ brokenness. We can intellectually know their ‘back story’: hardship, abuse, trauma suffered, mental or physical illness, etc. From that, we can surmise that they did ‘their best’ in raising us. But if we ask, God will give us His eyes to see them, to see the struggle in their soul as they tried to give us love. Their very nature, just like our own, was created for love, to give and receive it. Their vocation as parent was also embedded in the fabric of their being in accord with God’s Divine plan. Yet their capacity to love was limited, often severely, by their woundedness. Once we understand that everything in them was created to love us, we can see the interior battle in their soul as they tried with all that they had. Each memory of those small moments of gift from them suddenly take on new, profound meaning within this context. It is akin to the widow who only gave a few coins (Mark 12:41-44). Looking at just the coins, it seems she doesn’t give much at all. However, looking at her capacity to give, we see she gave all that she had. Similarly, rather than using our need for love to judge our parent’s small gesture of love, we should use their capacity to love as the benchmark. Then we see that each small gesture of love truly was God’s miracle in action, a gift He gave to both our parent and to us. Reflecting upon the memory of grace in the past disposes us to the grace of the present moment, and God will gladly fill our heart with the consolation of understanding love as He sees it.



We also possess gifts. These are our natural strengths and talents, the obvious ones known to us, as well as those we may not realize are strengths until developed through life experience and/or people point it out to us. Our giftedness also includes the charisms given to us by the Holy Spirit. Intellectually, we know from our faith that God is the totality of goodness and any goodness or gifts that we possess come from His goodness. That is somewhat a top-down view, as if He chisels a piece of talent off his shoulder and puts it into us. However, looking at this from a heart-view, one of relationship with Him, we realize it isn’t like a footrace in which God hands us a baton and says ,“run with it”! He’s with us; He is sharing His gifts with us as we use them. He’s always present to us and with us. 

We each are a piece in the mosaic of creation. That which our Father has designed in us will help us live in harmony with all of the cosmos. Our gifts, strengths, talents, and charisms are given towards this purpose, the aiding of others on the path to salvation. However, in examining our day, making resolutions for change that will bring us closer to Him, and talking with Him in mental prayer about all of this, our gifts can become an instrument by which He continues to perfect us even as we put them into service of others. As we allow Him to heal our own woundedness that (either consciously or subconsciously) taints our efforts, we develop the ability to embrace His love for us and the fact that He trusts us with His gifts. The combination of these prayer-conversations with Him and our carrying out His ‘tasks’ becomes spiritually therapeutic. And from it all, our healing creates interior capacity for love, both receiving and giving. We no longer judge others (or ourselves) by their ability to meet our needs or brand them by their brokenness. Rather, we see the beauty in their soul and the profundity of their smallest effort. We live in the grace of the present moment. 

Mother’s day will arrive soon and next month will be Father’s day. As we continue to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, ask Him for this grace of seeing your loved ones with new sight. 

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam 😊




(Images: large family by Annie Spratt, boy as postman by Museums Victoria, all on Unsplash)

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