On History

On History

“But part of the reasoning needed to convince man of his freedom must include reaffirming sacred history. And that must include remembering and retelling the fundamental choices made by Adam and Eve and Mary and Jesus and all the intermediate choices for or against God in that history. In hearing our faith narrated, it becomes recognizable as a history of choice, leading us to the present moment of choice, right here and right now. So the first requirement in regaining human freedom is to regain human history, to tell the human story as a chronicle of free will.”

Archbishop Chaput from “Religion and the Common Good” in First Things.

Join the discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Beautiful comments from both of you.  And, this goes back to your first post on this series, Melanie, when you said the best days are when you “put your own needs and desires aside” … isn’t that the essence of what God asks us to do—in prayer, in motherhood, in schooling, in everything?

  • “I know homeschooling will have plenty of those frustrating days, but at the same time it will be rooted in Love in a way that my teaching career never could be, much as I tried to breach that wall.”

    I was thinking about that relationship to prayer, too.  ST John Climacus says that “to prepare ourselves well for meditation, we must renounce self-will, and say to God, �Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening�”.  That is sometimes such a difficult thing—the pulling together to listen—that the effort is almost the prayer itself.  I think that mothering at least, is a bit like that, and since my homeschooling is integrally related to my mothering, good days to me are associated with days when I am renouncing my own will and trying to listen.  Thanks for bringing that part of it out.

  • Right, that brings me back to what Melissa said:

    I think this also keeps me looking at who my children really are instead of viewing them as sort of shadowy figures behind a superimposed amalgam of the accomplishments, habits, and knowledge I would like them to possess.

    Which now I’m seeing again in light of prayer. To really be successful in prayer, as in mothering, we need to still our own chatter and move beyond the false images we create. Just as Elijah hears God not in the expected wind or earthquake or thunder but in the unexpected still, small voice. Moving beyond the images we superimpose on God so that we can hear God himself is prayer’s greatest challenge.

    Perhaps this is one of the ways motherhood sanctifies us. Learning to see Bella herself, now, today and not my hopes for her future self helps me to discipline my imagination. To look, to listen, to see God’s handiwork in her, Bella as the image of the Creator, is to draw closer to the Creator through contemplation of his creation.

    Motherhood is the practice of abandonment of self as we realize that we are not in charge. We stand back and watch as the personality unfolds, as the child discovers herself. We attempt to discern who the child is so that we can help her to become more herself. We have participated in co-creating, but we did not create this life. Bella will be who she is not who I want her to be. And if I try to force her into a pattern, I only bend and break what God has made.

    Danielle Bean wrote about imagining having tea parties with a daughter who became not the girly-girl in dresses that her mother imagined but a tomboy more interested in bugs than in tea.

    And so we let go of ourselves and appreciate what God has made, more glorious than anything we could have dreamed up on our own: a growing, learning person just beginning the long journey toward heaven.