As the American Thanksgiving approaching, many writing prompts have been focused on thanksgiving, happiness and gratitude. For me laughter has always been my way of laughing off tragedy and focusing on the bright side. I laugh, a lot. Some people might question my sanity when I laugh so hard that I almost fall off my chair, especially if no one else joins in. I laugh mostly at myself, my nine children, my husband, our animals but also at the absurdity of life in general. Usually, my laughter cuts through tension, sadness and anger. Laughter has the power to turn potential tragedies into comedies of error.
- An example of the opposite of gratefulness is greed. Catholic Stand published an article of mine yesterday called The Altar of Success.
- To all people raised in a Western capitalist society:
Since preschool, society has pushed you to excel, to rise above your peers. You were groomed for success, to get into the best universities and snatch the most prized careers. Well, it is nice to have confidence, to fulfill your dreams, and have a sense of satisfaction in your chosen field of work. but that will not make you happy. Just take a look at the generations that have gone before you. The all too common mid-life crisis is a testament to the failure of a life focused on career advancement to the exclusion of family. Men and women bemoan the fact that they did not have time for nurturing and loving their spouse or children.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” [1 Peter 4:8]
All too often, family life crumbles to ashes, sacrificed on the altar of success.
As for childcare, society relegates this arrangement to women who are often treated as second class citizens. I want to yell out as loudly as I can that raising children is definitely not a default chore for women who were not successful in the world of business, power and wealth. Exactly how you, the next generation, love and form your children will directly influence the kind of society that they in turn create.
Do you want a world focused only on the ruthless accumulation of wealth? Really listen to the radical ideas presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
LIFE IN CHRIST
“YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF”
CCC 2401– The seventh commandment forbids unjustly taking or keeping the goods of one’s neighbor and wronging him in any way with respect to his goods. It commands justice and charity in the care of earthly goods and the fruits of men’s labor. For the sake of the common good, it requires respect for the universal destination of goods and respect for the right to private property. Christian life strives to order this world’s goods to God and to fraternal charity.
I. THE UNIVERSAL DESTINATION AND THE PRIVATE OWNERSHIP OF GOODS
CCC 2402 – In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits.187 The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race. However, the earth is divided up among men to assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened by violence. The appropriation of property is legitimate for guaranteeing the freedom and dignity of persons and for helping each of them to meet his basic needs and the needs of those in his charge. It should allow for a natural solidarity to develop between men.
CCC 2403 – The right to private property, acquired or received in a just way, does not do away with the original gift of the earth to the whole of mankind. The universal destination of goods remains primordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires respect for the right to private property and its exercise.
CCC 2404 – “In his use of things man should regard the external goods he legitimately owns not merely as exclusive to himself but common to others also, in the sense that they can benefit others as well as himself.”188The ownership of any property makes its holder a steward of Providence, with the task of making it fruitful and communicating its benefits to others, first of all his family.
When a person blindly follows the dictates of a capitalistic society, his focus becomes egocentric, and not on God, family or community.
What will you focus on as you embark on the rest of your life? Do you set your heart simply on the accumulation of wealth or will you live out true Christian social principles, and consider the universal destination of goods? Will you create a race of humans who are becoming increasingly shallow, cold and cynical about relationships, family and love? Do you want your offspring to be more comfortable texting you, their parents, than speaking with you face to face in a warm, loving way because it is more cost effective way of passing on information?
Just after his daughter’s birth, my son turned to his dad and said, “Dad, I think that this is the best thing that I have ever done in my life.”
And , a year later, as his little daughter lay sleeping on his chest, Daniel said, ”Now I know why you and Dad had so many kids.”
- Can you imagine that if you put family first, your kids will be healed by love, and set free to serve the world in and through Love? It would be heaven on earth. It would be the beginning of a revolution that would change the face of the earth. In doing so, I assure you, you will be happier, more content, and live longer, if you treasure family more than money and success.